Oxbridge degrees less advantageous for women than men, study finds

The study suggests women are more likely to be judged based on their personality than men

A recent report from Thomas International shows that Oxbridge degrees have less of an effect on career attainment for women than for men and that women pursuing a career are instead judged more on personality.

The study demonstrated that a man’s age and education are 150% more likely to predict his employment in a senior role than are those same characteristics for a woman. These factors account for 25% of the reason a man may be employed in a senior position and 10% of why a woman may be.

Head of Psychology at Thomas International, Jayson Darby, wrote that this means “mediocre men are getting ahead of better women.”

The analysis comes from data collected from over 100 director-level female leaders compared against their male counterparts.

Darby further stated that Oxbridge “can be an old boys’ club,” telling The Independent that “things are so much about who you know rather what you know.”

He said: “A man with an Oxbridge degree will be offered a huge advantage in their career efforts compared to a woman with an equivalent qualification, even if she has better leadership traits.

“The end result will be lots of average men getting ahead of more talented women.”

The Thomas study also found that men and women share similar levels of emotional intelligence and have comparable personality traits, finding far greater discrepancies in emotional perceptions of each gender.

Darby stated that “there is an inherent bias in the way people describe female success, and it’s holding women back.”

He told The Global Recruiter: “Our research has shown that women are as likely as men to have the traits of a good business leader, but women face additional hurdles to their success; the very traits that are proven predictors of leadership potential are judged negatively when they are shown by women.

“You have got the unconscious bias at the recruitment stage, such as an older man being seen as more advantageous in business, but older women not being seen like this.”

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These findings come in light of the University admitting more women than men in this year’s intake.

Earlier this year, Cherwell reported that this year’s intake of freshers was made up of 1,070 18-year-old women, compared to 1,025 men of the same age.

Women not only gained a greater numbers of offers, but also applied in record numbers.

At the time, Catherine Canning, VP for Access and Academic Affairs at Oxford SU said: “It is important to recognise that Oxfordhas finally reached gender parity in its admissions for the first time in its 1,000-year history.

“However, there are still significant disparities in admissionsparticularly around race and class. It is also important to recognise that access is more than an offer letter and Oxford University should be making sure all students feel welcome here.”