NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Networking has long been touted as a way to find new career opportunities, but a study to be published in the journal Social Science Research indicates that making social contacts only benefits men.
Researchers at North Carolina State University analyzed a national data set of more than 12,000 people, in an effort to determine the role work experience plays when people find new jobs through their social connections.
They discovered men with specialized work experience were often recruited into a new job through their social contacts without having to actively look for a new position. Specifically, men with experience were 12% more likely to find a new job through informal recruitment than they were through a formal job search. Women were no more likely to find a job through informal recruitment than they were through a formal job search.
Unfortunately, much like the glass ceiling, Steve McDonald, who authored the study, said he has yet to determine why women don’t seem to enjoy the same networking benefits.
“We need to learn more about exactly why women don’t get the same benefits from their social connections that men do,” McDonald, an assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State , said in a press release. “But right now, we just don’t have the long-term data we need on these social networks to fully understand this phenomenon.”
The study highlights another factor that may be contributing to the persistent gender wage gap, since the failure to benefit from social contacts was especially problematic for women vying for high-wage, managerial jobs, positions often filled through the informal recruiting process that appears to favor men.
“Previously, 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,” McDonald says. “But this study suggests that a lack of useful social connections may also be driving the gender wage gap.”