Gender Disparities in the Tech Industry: The Effects of Gender and Stereotypicaility on Perceived Environmental Fit

Sullivan Swift


Women make up only 25% of employees in the technology industry (e.g., computer science careers, information technology, etc.). One possible explanation for this disparity is that hiring decisions are made based off cultural fit, or the perception of similarities between employers and job candidates. In previous research, we discovered no difference in hiring intention between male and female candidates, but male candidates were seen to fit better into the company environment than female candidates. The current research investigates whether perceptions of cultural fit are determined in part by the stereotypicality of the candidate, and if males are seen to fit better in computer science (CS) environments even when females express the same interests and appearance. In our study, undergraduates were asked to imagine that they were hiring a job candidate for a technology company. Participants read a description of either a non-stereotypical (e.g., art posters on the wall, etc.) or stereotypical (e.g., Star Trek posters, computer parts, science fiction posters, etc.) CS workplace, and then read a stereotypical (e.g., hobbies include Star Trek Trivia, Anime club, etc.) or a non-stereotypical (e.g., hobbies include intramural soccer, Music appreciation club, etc.) résumé of either a male or female job candidate accompanied by a picture of the candidate. Participants then answered questions measuring perceived candidate fit into the company environment and hiring intention. We predict that stereotypical candidates will be seen to fit better into the company environment and be hired more often than either of the non-stereotypical candidates. We also predict that while stereotypical female candidates will fit better than non-stereotypical female candidates, they will fit less well and be hired less often than stereotypical male candidates. This would suggest that perceptions of the overall stereotypicality of the candidate prevent non-typical candidates from being hired, and women may be limited from entering the industry in this way.


Stereotypes, Cultural Fit, Computer Science, Ambient Belonging, Environmental Fit, Psychology

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