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December 27, 2021

Social contacts work for men, but not women, in job hunt: report

That thud you may have heard recently is the sound of women continuing to hit their heads on that invisible glass ceiling, particularly when it comes to looking for a job.

1197499_stop_1Work experience generally helps people foster the kinds of personal contacts that can lead someone to new career opportunities, but a study from North Carolina State University suggests that this is really only true for men and that gender bias plays a key role here.

They were no more likely to find a job through informal recruitment than they were through a formal job search, the researchers maintain.

“Researchers have argued that women face lower-wage payoffs than men with similar work experience because the women have fewer opportunities to develop job skills,” says lead researcher Steve McDonald, adding that a lack of useful social connections may also be driving the gender wage gap.

Subtle though it may be, gender bias falls into four basic patterns. Naming them makes it easier to spot them and having a common language to describe the different types of bias makes it harder for others to shrug off or ignore complaints.

To see how deep this issue can hide in plain sight, try playing Gender Bias Bingo, an exercise developed by the Center for Work Life Law at the University of California.

Your playing card consists of nine boxes aligned in three rows and columns, with each box describing forms of gender bias such as hitting a ‘Maternal Wall’ based on unfair expectations of mothers, or ‘Double Binds’ when women are urged to behave like men but then criticized when they do.

When you're finished, try this pop quiz as well.

Tell us: Do you feel that a lack of networking opportunities holds women back? Are things worse, thanks to a tough economy?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...