Women's struggle to be taken as seriously as men at work appears to be far from over. It turns out that even with more leadership experience than their male competitors, they're still likely to be overlooked for the top jobs.
This is the conclusion a group of researchers at the University of Kent came to after creating CVs for a range of fictional job applicants, and testing them out on 98 employers looking for someone to fill a managerial role.
The fictional applicants were all of roughly the same age, and varied only in their gender and level of experience. The employers had to rate each one's CV and indicate who they would most like to take on.
But no matter what an applicant had achieved in their career to date, the quality deemed most impressive was leadership potential, and only in males. Even if the man in question was just starting out in his career and had never actually worked in a job requiring leadership, he was more likely to be hired than most women with experience and/or similar levels of potential.
The fact that almost half of the employers were female made no difference, either – they still went for men. Abigail Player, one of the study's co-authors, implored employers to start taking women more seriously and give them the recognition they deserve:
The findings have implications for gender equality in the workplace and provide initial evidence that women's leadership potential is not recognised by potential employers. This is a significant barrier to career progression and success for women.
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