Closing gender gaps

CMD affiliate Dr Maria Recalde is investigating how organisations may be able to help close labour market gender gaps.

While women are increasingly closing the pay gap with their male counterparts, gender gaps in the labour market remain. Centre for Market Design affiliate Dr Maria Recalde is investigating how organisations may be able to amend this long-held problem.

Dr Recalde's Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) grant is investigating the origins, and labour market consequences of, gender differences in people's willingness to perform tasks that won't necessarily help them get promoted.

Alongside international researchers, Dr Recalde has found that workers who volunteer for tasks that aren't directly related to promotion are more likely to be female. These tasks can affect career advancement by reducing the time workers can devote to other work that directly counts towards promotion.

"Many tasks at work are essential to help organisations function well but don't require special skills or lead to career advancement," Dr Recalde says.

"Examples include taking minutes for a meeting or planning an event. Most of the time, it is women who perform these tasks.

"My DECRA research will help inform policies for institutions trying to close gender gaps."

Dr Recalde's research uses tools from experimental and behavioural economics to identify the drivers of gender gaps in the labour market and therefore solutions that organisations can use to level the playing field and promote the advancement of the most talented individuals in organisations.

"We now understand a little bit more as to what causes gender differences in labour market outcomes but there are a lot of questions we still have to ask. On average, women are still jumping through many more hoops than men to have the same jobs, rewards, and career opportunities," Dr Recalde says.