People are more likely to seek financial advice from men
What’s in a name?
Research outlined by the Harvard Business Review suggests that professional women are at a disadvantage due to their names. The study, which looked at lab-based research shows that there’s a double standard when it comes to hiring employees, especially for those working in the financial sector.
“We find that double standards disadvantaging women are most likely when evaluators face heightened search costs related to the number of candidates being compared or higher levels of uncertainty stemming from variation in the amount of pertinent information available,” says Tristan L. Botelho, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Management and Mabel Abraham, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School, both of whom conducted the study published in the Administrative Science Quarterly in February of 2017.
In layman’s terms, when seeking advice about money, people tend to select males, or those with male names from a list when they’re not given any additional information about a person. This means that even though a man and a woman may have the same qualifications, women are disadvantaged and must outperform men to be given the same chance.
The study analyzed 3,250 investment recommendations from 1,550 people in an online knowledge-sharing platform. The two-stage study included a section where people see stock recommendations, the market return of the recommendation, the recommender’s name and the name of the recommender’s employer. If they want more information, they’re encouraged to click on the person’s name – and though the person’s gender isn’t stated, their first name indicates whether they’re a man or woman.
The findings imply that a recommendation submitted by someone with a female name such as “Mary” received 25% fewer clicks than one submitted by someone with a name like “Matthew.”
When women were altogether removed from the sample and men with gender-neutral names were placed in the pool, those with names like “Kelly” received fewer clicks.
And even though the double standard surrounding men and women in the workforce is hardly a new phenomenon, according to Catalyst, women still only account for a fraction of S&P 500 employees – just 5.2% are CEO’s and 26.5% of executive or senior level management roles belong to women.
The United States Department of Labor reports that women also earn less than men. Women who worked full time in 2014 earned on average, 79% of men’s median annual earnings.
Even with the introduction of initiatives like the Connecticut Horizon Fund, developed by state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier to diversify the management of the state’s pension funds by providing opportunities for emerging minority and women-owned investment firms, women still face unfair standards as professionals.
With names like Remi, Quincy, Alden, Bellamy and Ellis topping the gender-neutral chart in 2017 according to Bustle, choosing an investment advisor based on name alone in the future means you likely won’t know if you’re selecting a man or woman.
© 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved