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Science Careers Blog

August 18, 2009

White Males Get More Job Leads in Conversations

A new study of networking shows that white men get more job leads than women or Hispanics in their routine conversations. The study, authored by North Carolina State sociologist Steve McDonald and two colleagues, surveyed a national sample of 3,000 respondents to find out about the amount of job information people learn in their day-to-day conversations.

The advantages for white men are particularly pronounced for management jobs. White men, McDonald reported, receive more job leads in their routine conversations than white women or Hispanics of either gender, but about the same number of leads as African-American men and women. White males, however, receive more job leads when they are high-level supervisors, whereas African-Americans generally learn about new jobs while in non-managerial positions.

McDonald and his team found that some of these differences in job leads could be explained by differences in the extent of networking among white males compared with networking among women or minorities. The white males in the study tended to have more and better contacts in different fields of employment than Hispanics. However, white men and women had equal amounts and quality of networking, yet white males continued to get more job leads in their routine conversations. McDonald couldn't explain the greater number of leads for white men in management jobs.

The findings will be published later this month in the journal Social Problems.

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