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Masculine vs feminine personality traits and women’s employment outcomes in Britain: A field experiment

Nick Drydakis (Department of Economics and International Business, Centre for Pluralist Economics, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK) (Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany)
Katerina Sidiropoulou (Department of Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour, Centre for Pluralist Economics, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)
Vasiliki Bozani (Economics Research Centre, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus)
Sandra Selmanovic (Department of Economics and International Business, Centre for Pluralist Economics, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)
Swetketu Patnaik (Department of Economics and International Business, Centre for Pluralist Economics, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Publication date: 2 July 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether masculine personality traits in women generate better job market prospects, as compared to feminine personality traits.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors utilized a field experiment (correspondent test) to capture the way in which firms respond to women who exhibit masculine and feminine personality traits. In doing so, the authors minimized the potential for reverse causality bias and unobserved heterogeneities to occur.

Findings

Women who exhibit masculine personality traits have a 4.3 percentage points greater likelihood of gaining access to occupations than those displaying feminine personality traits. In both male- and female-dominated occupations, women with masculine personality traits have an occupational access advantage, as compared to those exhibiting feminine personality traits. Moreover, women with masculine personality traits take up positions which offer 10 percentage points higher wages, in comparison with those displaying feminine personality traits. Furthermore, wage premiums are higher for those exhibiting masculine personality traits in male-dominated occupations than for female-dominated positions.

Practical implications

Within the labor market, masculine personality traits may increase competency levels and leadership capability.

Social implications

As feminine personality traits are stereotypically attributed to women, and these characteristics appear to yield fewer rewards within the market, they may offer one of many plausible explanations as to why women experience higher unemployment rates, while also receiving lower earnings, as compared to men.

Originality/value

Masculine and feminine personality traits may be a probable outcome of wage-related differentials. The experimental study isolates spurious relationships and offers clear evaluations of the effect of masculine and feminine personality traits on occupational access and wage distribution. To the best of the authors knowledge, this is the first-field experiment to examine the effect of masculine and feminine personality traits on entry-level pay scales.

Keywords

Citation

Drydakis, N., Sidiropoulou, K., Bozani, V., Selmanovic, S. and Patnaik, S. (2018), "Masculine vs feminine personality traits and women’s employment outcomes in Britain: A field experiment", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 621-630. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-09-2017-0255

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited