The Glass Door: The Gender Composition of Newly-Hired Workers Across Hierarchical Job Levels

30 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010

See all articles by Wolter H.J. Hassink

Wolter H.J. Hassink

Utrecht University - Department of General Social Sciences; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Giovanni Russo

VU University Amsterdam; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper examines the gender composition of the flow of new hirees along the organizational hierarchy of jobs. We find that women have a reduced chance to be hired at higher hierarchical levels. We refer to this phenomenon as the "glass door". The glass door consists of an absolute and a relative effect. First, there is a reduced probability of women being recruited for jobs at higher hierarchical levels. Second, a larger fraction of jobs below the focal level of hiring within the firm reduces the relative inflow of female hirees. The latter component leads women moving to firms in which the job has a lower relative position in the hierarchical structure. We explain the glass door phenomenon by a theoretical model of the firm's decision to hire a woman. The model is based on two key assumptions. First, women have a higher probability of leaving due to their higher valuation of non-market activities. Second, a voluntary quit leads to a larger decrease in the production of lower level co-workers when the worker who leaves has a position in the upper tier of the hierarchy. The glass door implies that the value of women's outside option in the labor market is lower. It may provide an additional explanation of why a glass ceiling can be sustainable as an equilibrium phenomenon.

Keywords: hiring, hierarchies, glass door, gender, outside option

JEL Classification: J16, J23, J41, J63, M51

Suggested Citation

Hassink, Wolter H.J. and Russo, Giovanni, The Glass Door: The Gender Composition of Newly-Hired Workers Across Hierarchical Job Levels. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4858, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584189

Wolter H.J. Hassink (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Department of General Social Sciences ( email )

Algemene Sociale Wetenschappen
Postbus 80.140
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands
+31 30 2531115 (Phone)
+31 30 2533992 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Giovanni Russo

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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