Research Finds Good Grades in College Don’t Help Women in the Job Market

A new study by Natasha Quadlin, an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University, finds that a man’s grade point average in college has little impact on their job prospects. But for women college graduates, a high grade point average has a negative impact on their getting a job.

Dr. Quadlin submitted more than 2,100 job applications from fictitious people. She changed the applicants’ grade point averages, college majors, and gender. She found that applications from high-achieving men received significantly more employer responses (i.e., callbacks) than did applications from equally high-achieving women — at a rate of nearly 2-to-1.  And, high-achieving women were most likely to be penalized when they majored in math or STEM fields, as high-achieving men in STEM were called back nearly three times as often as their women counterparts.

In a follow-up survey of hiring managers, Dr. Quadlin found that employers value competence and commitment among male applicants but value perceived likeability among female applicants. “This standard helps moderate-achieving women, who are often perceived as sociable and outgoing, but hurts high-achieving women, whose personalities are viewed more skeptically,” said Dr. Quadlin.

Dr. Quidlin is a summa cum laude  graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she majored in social policy. She holds master’s degrees in sociology and applied statistics and a Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University.

The study, “The Mark of a Woman’s Record: Gender and Academic Performance in Hiring,” was published on the website of the American Sociological Review. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study


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