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Women more likely to be hired: but they're not applying

Women are less likely to put themselves out there – but have higher chances of getting the job when they do. <em>(Photo: Getty)</em>
Women are less likely to put themselves out there – but have higher chances of getting the job when they do. (Photo: Getty)

Women face no shortage of issues in securing parity with men when it comes to payment, treatment, and representation in the workplace.

But women are short-changing themselves, pulling themselves out of the running before they even give themselves a fighting chance.

Women are more selective than men when it comes to applying for jobs, LinkedIn’s new Gender Insights Report has found. The fairer sex applies for 20 per cent fewer jobs than men do.

It checks out given that women often won’t apply for a job unless they’re 100 per cent qualified, unlike men who take a chance even if they only tick 60 per cent of the boxes, according to statistics from Hewlett Packard.

”LinkedIn behavioural data backs this up — women tend to screen themselves out of the conversation and end up applying to fewer jobs than men,” the LinkedIn report stated.

And it seems this trend stretches all the way to the highest levels of management: many women CEOs who found themselves in the top job actually didn’t want to be there.

The irony

But the really ironic twist of the knife when women self-select themselves out of jobs is that they are actually more likely than men to get hired for the role.

When women do apply, they’re 16 per cent more likely to get the job, LinkedIn’s report reveals.

“If women only apply when they feel extremely qualified, it makes sense that they’d have a higher success rate,” it acknowledged.

“But this could also indicate they are not pursuing stretch opportunities. When they do go for stretch roles, women are 18 per cent more likely to get hired than men.”

The confidence gap

So the issue is clearly not that women are under-qualified.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, independent workplace expert Conrad Liveris said the report findings were “striking”.

“It shows women should be putting themselves forward. Men already are,” he said.

Ultimately, the reason why women don’t apply for the job comes down to a “confidence gap”.

“Some say women don’t have enough, but I think you could argue that men have too much and put themselves too easily for jobs,” he told Yahoo Finance.

Liveris encouraged women to put themselves forward sooner, as men already are.

“I’ve been on more than enough interview panels to see that men jump at opportunities where women tend to be more considered.”

Employers and HR professionals could also be doing more: job descriptions can be counter-productive and have the effect of screening out worthy applicants.

“[The job descriptions] work on best case scenario, but the perfect employee doesn’t exist. They should be reframed to be more accessible and inclusive,” Liveris said.

“I’d also say that recruiters need to encourage relevant women to step forward. If they are serious about workplace gender equality then they must go seek women out and get them to put their hat in the ring.”

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