The Peril of Potential: Gender Practices in the Recruitment and Selection of Early-Career Researchers

November 21, 2017, 1:45 pm

GESIS, Cologne, Conference room East

Channah Herschberg


In the competition for a scarce number of early-career academic positions, recruitment and selection practices play an important role. Yet, we do not know how gender plays a role in deciding who win or lose in this competition, but we do see that the number of women academics drops at the level of assistant professor. Therefore, a critical analysis of the recruitment and selection of early-career researchers is needed in order to understand how gender inequalities are constructed. This presentation shows the results of a study on gender practices in the recruitment and selection of assistant professors. The findings are based on a comparative analysis of empirical material on recruitment and selection procedures and criteria collected in social sciences and natural sciences departments in six European higher education institutions in Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. I discuss the complex interconnections of recruitment and selection practices and gender practices for early-career researchers throughout the six countries by showing how gatekeepers discursively construct recruitment and selection criteria. I illustrate how practices of welcoming women and assessing potential for excellence are conflated with multiple gender practices in the evaluation of early-career researchers. Furthermore, I show how some practices can be beneficial and others detrimental for women researchers, and present three discrepancies in the various selection criteria and their application.


About the speaker

Channah Herschberg is a PhD candidate at Radboud University, Institute for Management Research. She is part of the section of Business Administration and the department of Strategic Human Resource Management & Leadership.