job searches

Chris Boake cboake at
Wed Jan 29 16:00:38 EST 1997

In article <5cnsid$62p at>, ddudle at (Dana
Ann Dudle) wrote:

> In a recent job search at a major research university, there were > 200 
> applicants, half of whom sent in affirmative action cards to the office 
> on campus where statistics about gender and minority ratios are kept.  Of 
> the hundred or so who turned in cards, there were about 28% females in 
> the applicant pool.  The final short list of candidates who were granted 
> interviews contains 16% females (that is to say, 1 out of 6).  The 
> university claims to be in compliance with affirmative action regulations.

I think that this proportional analysis is a valuable way to look at
hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions and it has in fact been proposed
as a model that would overcome some of the current difficulties with the
accounting methods used in affirmative action (the proposal is in a book
that is in press).  The big caveat is to make sure that you have accurate
data on the numbers of applicants of each category: what do the
proportions mean if women are more likely to return postcards than men?
When I was on the job market, I only responded to affirmative action
inquiries if a prepaid card was enclosed; who knows how that kind of
selectivity could bias a sample?

For any one job search, there may be good reasons why the proportion of
women interviewed is not the same as the proportion who applied (for
example the applicant's area of specialty, as proposed by another
poster).  However, if the department, over successive searches, or the
university overall, shows this pattern, it should be a red flag.  At the
moment I don't believe that these statistics are available, although it
should be possible to extract them from the raw data, as long as the raw
data are reliable. 


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