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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The gender of job applicants : different standards for lack of competence? Valenzuela, Jerilee


This thesis reports on the results from an experiment designed to investigate a situation in which two applicants, a man and a woman, are assessed regarding their potential for an engineering position. The situation is one in which both applicants show low levels of performance; the decision for the participants is then whether these applicants merit special consideration, and whether one or both should be kept on the waiting list. In one case, the man is slightly better than the woman, in the other the situation is reversed, and in the third case, the two applicants show similar grades. One hundred sixty-five (81 men and 84 women) students participated in this study. Dependent measures include choice of applicant, potential competence and suitability, and suggested salary. Results indicate that, for the most part, participants responded to the difference in grades. There were however, some effects from gender of applicant and of participant. Regarding competence advantage and salary advantage, results strictly reflect the grade differences between the two applicants. Concerning choice and suitability advantage, however, effects from sex of applicant and of participant emerged, respectively. I propose that the differences across the results are due to the types of measures and the way they could have been understood by the participants. A thorough discussion of the results and their interpretation is presented. I assess these results in terms of recent trends towards equity of sex roles in our society.

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