Personality and Career: She's Got What It Takes
AbstractThe female share in management positions is quite low in Germany. The higher the hierarchical level, the fewer women there are in such positions. Men have numerous role models to follow whereas women lack this opportunity: In the executive boards of the top 200 private companies in Germany, only 2.5 percent of members are female. Many studies have focused on the influence of human capital and other "objective" factors on career opportunities. In our study, we go a step further by also looking at the impact of self-reported personality traits on gender differences in career chances. We compare managers and other white-collar employees in Germany's private sector. While bivariate results based on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in 2005 show that there are significant gender differences in personality traits, multivariate estimations clearly indicate that these differences cannot account for gender differences in career opportunities. Nevertheless, personality traits might indeed play a role, albeit more indirectly: Some of the stronger career effects, such as work experience, long working hours, and labour market segregation, can also reflect differences in personality traits. These might have been influenced at an early stage by a gender-biased environment. Our results strongly stress the need for a gender-neutral environment outside and inside companies in order to enforce equal career opportunities for women and men.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 250.
Length: 36 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
personality; gender; career; leadership;
Other versions of this item:
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-01-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-HRM-2010-01-16 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2010-01-16 (Labour Economics)
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