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Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi -University of Mannheim
Thursday 04 April 2024, 02:30pm - 04:00pm

The Importance of Signaling for Women's Careers


We show that signals of leadership qualification are more important for women's career advancement than for men's. Specifically, signals of higher education, professional experience and access to professional networks increase male directors' probability to enter a leadership position by 5.2%, and their compensation by 5.7% ($246,900). Female directors with these signals are 11.0% more likely to enter a leadership position, and their compensation is 19.7% ($796,800) higher. This result is in line with models of screening discrimination, in which women need to provide more observable skill signals to counterbalance higher uncertainty about their unobservable qualifications for a leadership position. Supporting this channel, we find that our results are stronger if information asymmetries between (mostly) male employers and female candidates are larger: successions after the sudden death of a CEO, successions in firms with all-male nomination committees, and outside hires.

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