A new report from LinkedIn suggests that women and men have different job search experiences on the professional social media network.
LinkedIn analyzed billions of interactions between companies and job seekers to better understand how gender impacted the job-search process, from the moment the job was posted to the point it was filled.
“The results show that while women and men explore opportunities similarly, there’s a clear gap in how they apply to jobs – and in how companies recruit them,” the report stated.
Women and men were equally open to new job opportunities (88 percent and 90 percent, respectively), and, on average, viewed a similar number job opportunities (women viewed 44 postings; men viewed 48).
But the similarities ended there.
For example, women tended to be more selective when applying for these jobs.
“While [women and men] browse jobs similarly, they apply to them differently,” the report concluded. “In order to apply for a job, women feel they need to meet 100 percent of the criteria while men usually apply after meeting about 60 percent.”
LinkedIn was quick to point out that its behavioral data – pages we visit, profiles we view, links we create – backs this up. They would know. LinkedIn collects volumes of data on how we navigate their platform.
For example, women were more likely to screen themselves out of jobs based on the posting. Consequently, they ended up applying to fewer jobs than men.
To encourage more women to apply, LinkedIn says companies should be thoughtful about the requirements they list. Companies that do this self-reflection should ask “what’s truly a must-have” and “what’s merely a nice-to-have.”
Women were also 26 percent less likely than men to ask for a referral.
“Recruiters report that [referrals] are the top source of quality hires. However, women are far less likely than men to ask for a referral to a job they’re interested in, even when they have a connection at the company,” the report concluded.
“Make sure your pipeline is a healthy blend of referrals, active applicants and sourced candidates.”
LinkedIn also found that recruiters accessed men’s profiles more regularly, and they attribute this to the unconscious biases ingrained in the process. However, after examining member profiles, recruiters found women to be just as qualified as men.
Recruiters also tended to reach out to both genders with job opportunities at a similar rate.
To combat selection bias, more companies are using a kind of “anonymous” search process, removing names and photos that could reveal gender. Recruiters can easily disable “view candidate photo” feature within the LinkedIn Recruiter platform.
While the report lays out a clear path forward for companies and job seekers, there’s still work to do. Thankfully the advice LinkedIn offers in this report should help recruiters create better job-search experiences, regardless of gender.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is special assistant to the provost and professor of communication in the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes on a variety of topics including communication technologies, relationships, and sports (with an emphasis on fandom). His work has appeared in Mahoning Matters as well as The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers.