Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence From a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company

36 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2018

See all articles by Jeffrey Flory

Jeffrey Flory

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance

Andreas Leibbrandt

Monash University

Christina Rott

VU University Amsterdam

Olga Stoddard

Brigham Young University

Date Written: April 2018

Abstract

The persistent lack of workplace diversity in management and leadership may lead to organizational vulnerabilities. White males occupy most high-profile positions in the largest U.S. corporations whereas African Americans, Hispanics, and women are clearly underrepresented in leadership roles. While many firms and other organizations have set ambitious goals to increase demographic diversity, there is a dearth of empirical evidence on effective ways to reach them. We use a natural field experiment to test several hypotheses on effective means to attract minority candidates for top professional careers. By randomly varying the content in recruiting materials of a major financial services corporation with over 10,000 employees, we test different types of signals regarding the extent and manner in which the employer values diversity among its workers. We find that signaling explicit interest in employee diversity can reverse the ethnicity gap in rates of interest and applications, and that it has a strong positive effect on interest in openings among racial minority candidates, the likelihood that they apply, and the probability that they are selected. These results uncover an effective method for disrupting monocultures in management through a minor intervention that influences sorting among job-seekers into high-profile careers.

Keywords: diversity, experiment, field experiment, gender, race

JEL Classification: J15, J16, C93, D22

Suggested Citation

Flory, Jeffrey and Leibbrandt, Andreas and Rott, Christina and Stoddard, Olga, Increasing Workplace Diversity: Evidence From a Recruiting Experiment at a Fortune 500 Company (April 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 7025, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3201995 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3201995

Jeffrey Flory

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/jfloryeconomics/

Andreas Leibbrandt (Contact Author)

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Christina Rott

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

Netherlands

Olga Stoddard

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

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