Gender discrimination and the backlash effect in recruitment and dismissal processes: experimental evidence from Slovakia

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords Gender discrimination; Gender bias; Backlash effect; Differential treatment; Slovakia
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Description Purpose – Following Goldberg ’ s paradigm, this study aims to investigate whether women and men are at risk of differential treatment by HR professionals in recruitment and dismissal processes and focuses on the impact of exogenous factors, such as discrimination and gender norms. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 155 individuals with experience as HR professionals participated in a randomised vignette study. In Task 1, they evaluated three applicants (all three either men or women) for the post of regional sales manager based on the applicant ’ s competences, hireability, likeability and proposed salary. In Task 2, participants were asked to select one of the six employees for dismissal and provide a rationale for their choice. Findings – In Task 1, female applicants were offered signi ? cantly lower salaries than male applicants. In addition, average and low-performing male applicants were assessed as less likeable than identical females. In Task 2, the willingness to dismiss increased when employees with frequent absences were presented as men. Originality/value – By involving a sample of HR professionals, the study contributes to the literature and practice by highlighting the differential treatment of women and men in the labour market. While women are likely to experience direct discrimination in the form of signi ? cantly lower pay offers, men may suffer a backlash due to lower educational attainment and absenteeism. The ? ndings suggest that the labour market situation for women is complex and affected by norms and expectations requiring men to behave in a masculine and career-oriented way.
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