Academic Hiring (Chapter 3)
The findings on academic hiring suggest that many women fared well in the hiring process at Research I institutions, which contradicts some commonly held perceptions of research-intensive universities. If women applied for positions at Research I institutions, they had a better chance of being interviewed and receiving offers than male job candidates had. Many departments at Research I institutions, both public and private, have made an effort to increase the numbers and percentages of female faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics. Having women play a visible role in the hiring process, for example, has clearly made a difference. Unfortunately, women continue to be underrepresented in the applicant pool, relative to their representation among the pool of recent Ph. D.s. Institutions may not have effective recruitment plans, as departmental efforts targeted at women were not strong predictors in these surveys of an increased percentage of women applicants.
1. Women accounted for about 17 percent of applications for both tenure-track and tenured positions in the departments surveyed. In each of the six disciplines, the percentage of applications from women for tenure-track positions was lower than the percentage of Ph. D.s awarded to women. (Findings 3-1 and 3-3)
TABLE S-l Representation of Women in Faculty Positions at Research I Institutions by Rank and Field (percent), 1995-2003
Assistant Professor Associate Professor Full Professor
SOURCE: National Science Foundation, Survey of Doctorate Recipients, 1995-2003. Tabulated by the National Research Council.
Table S-2 shows the percentage of women in the pool at each of several key transition points in academic careers: award of Ph. D., application for position, interview, and job offer. Although there was wide variation by field and department in the number and percentage of female applicants for faculty positions, the percentage of applications from women in each discipline was lower than the percentage of doctoral degrees awarded to women. This was particularly the case in chemistry and biology, the two disciplines in the study with the highest percentage of female Ph. D.s. The mean percentage of female applicants for tenure-track positions in chemistry was 18 percent, but women earned 32 percent of the Ph. D.s in chemistry from Research I institutions from 1999-2003. Biology (26 percent in the tenure-track pool and 45 percent in the doctoral pool) also showed a significant difference.
The fields with lower percentages of women in the Ph. D. pool had a higher propensity for those women to apply. Electrical engineering (11 percent in the tenure-track pool and 12 percent in the doctoral pool), mathematics, and physics, for example, had modest decreases in the applicant pool.
The percentage of applicant pools that included at least one woman was substantially higher than would be expected by chance. However, there were no female applicants (only men applied) for 32 (6 percent) of the available tenure – track positions and 16 (16.5 percent) of the tenured positions.
2. The percentage of women who were interviewed for tenure-track or tenured positions was higher than the percentage of women who applied. (Finding 3-10)
TABLE S-2 Transitions from Ph. D. to Tenure-Track Positions by Field at the Research I Institutions Surveyed (percent)
SOURCE: Survey of departments carried out by the Committee on Gender Differences in Careers of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Faculty; Ph. D. data is from NSF, WebCASPAR.
For each of the six disciplines in this study the mean percentage of females interviewed for tenure-track and tenured positions exceeded the mean percentage of female applicants. For example, the female applicant pool for tenure-track positions in electrical engineering was 11 percent, and the corresponding interview pool was 19 percent.
3. The percentage of women who received the first job offer was higher than the percentage who were invited to interview. (Finding 3-13)
For all disciplines the percentage of tenure-track women who received the first job offer was greater than the percentage in the interview pool. For example, women were 19 percent of the interview pool for tenure-track electrical engineering positions and received 32 percent of the first offers. This finding was also true for tenured positions with the notable exception of biology, where the interview pool was 33 percent female and women received 22 percent of the first job offers.
4. Most institutional and departmental strategies for increasing the percentage of women in the applicant pool were not effective as they were not strong predictors of the percentage of women applying. The percentage of women on the search committee and whether a woman chaired the search, however, did have a significant effect on recruiting women. (Findings 3-7 and 3-8)
Departments have not generally been aggressive in using special strategies to increase the gender diversity of the applicant pool. Most of the policy steps proposed to increase the percentage of women in the applicant pool (such as targeted advertising, recruiting at conferences, and contacting colleagues at other institutions) were done in isolation, with almost two-thirds of the departments in our sample reporting that they took either no steps or only one step to increase the gender diversity of the applicant pool.
It appears that women were more likely to apply for a position if a woman chaired the search committee. The percentage of females on the search committee and whether a woman chaired the committee were both significantly and positively associated with the proportion of women in the applicant pool.