Networks of Opportunity: Gender, Race, and Job Leads

Steve McDonald, Nan Lin and Dan Ao
Social Problems
Vol. 56, No. 3 (August 2009), pp. 385-402
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2009.56.3.385
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Page Count: 18
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Researchers have commonly invoked isolation from job opportunities as an explanation for persistence of gender and race inequality in the labor market, but few have examined whether access to information about job opportunities varies by race and gender. Findings from nationally representative survey data reveal significant white male advantage in the number of job leads received through routine conversations when compared to white women and Hispanics. Differences in social network resources (social capital) partly explain the deficit among Hispanics, but fail to account for the job lead gap between white women and men. Further analyses show that inequality in the receipt of job information is greatest at the highest levels of supervisory authority, where white males receive substantially more job leads than women and minorities.

Keywords: social capital, networks, job information, inequality, gender, race

Author Information

Steve McDonald
North Carolina State University
Nan Lin
Duke University and Academia Sinica
Dan Ao
The Chinese University of Hong Kong