Scouting for Good Jobs: Gender and Networking in Job Search

48 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2017 Last revised: 23 Jul 2019

See all articles by Elena Obukhova

Elena Obukhova

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Adam M. Kleinbaum

Tuck School of Business; Dartmouth College

Date Written: June 16, 2019


Although much has been written about gender and social networks, we know less about gender differences in networking, the deliberate outreach for instrumental tie formation. We argue that job-seeking women network more than men do – especially with women – in order to “scout out” prospective employers. In Study 1, we use server logs to directly observe job-seeking MBAs students’ outreach to alumni and show that, consistent with our scouting hypothesis, female students reach out to at least as many men and to significantly more women than their male classmates. We term this surplus “scouting” and, in Study 2, we further explore exactly what scouting consists of by interviewing 46 MBA students. These qualitative data reveal that in addition to all the same networking that men do, female students also networked, primarily with women, to learn about gender dynamics in the workplace and about organizational support for parenting, two topics that men rarely explored in their networking. Taken together, these results suggest that women network more than their male peers because, through scouting, they seek additional information that men do not. We discuss the implications of our findings for our understanding of gender differences in networking and career attainment.

Keywords: Networking, Social Networks, Gender, Labor Markets

Suggested Citation

Obukhova, Elena and Kleinbaum, Adam M., Scouting for Good Jobs: Gender and Networking in Job Search (June 16, 2019). Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 2995471. Available at SSRN: or

Elena Obukhova (Contact Author)

Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5 H3A 2M1
5143985919 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://

Adam M. Kleinbaum

Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH
United States


Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

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