Is there still a so-called “old boy’s club” that gives men an edge in getting promotions? A new National Bureau of Economic Research study, “The Old Boys’ Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap” by Zoe Cullen of Harvard University’s Business School and Ricardo Perez-Truglia of University of California-Los Angeles, finds that while some things remain the same, others can surprise you.
According to a 2019 study by McKinsey & Co., 48% of all entry level employees at U.S. corporations are filled by women. (The Department of Labor’s December jobs report says women hold 50.04% of all U.S. jobs, excluding farm workers and the self-employed.)
Also, only 38% of females fall into middle-management category, 22% are at C-suite level and 5% at the CEO level, McKinsey found.
As Cullen and Perez-Truglia noted in their paper, “Not only is this unfair, it is inefficient; the economy is missing out on women who would make great managers.” (The National Bureau of Economic Research published the report last month.)
The main question the researchers wanted to answer is do men have a so-called schmooze network — not accessible to women — that allows them to interact more with powerful men to get more promotions? The two decided to build on the anecdotal evidence for this idea and determine how to measure it quantitatively.
First, the researchers worked with a large commercial bank in Asia and decided to use a variation in manager assignment “generated by the rotation of managers within an organization.”