News Release

Social networks, gender, and job placement

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Researchers report that female graduate students' social networks influence their placement into leadership positions. Although many studies focus on gender inequality in the workforce, there is limited research about how the social networks of men and women affect employment opportunities. Brian Uzzi and colleagues analyzed 4.55 million email exchanges among 542 men and 186 women at a top-ranked business school. Registrar records provided data on gender, academic performance, work history, and job placement. Male students who were connected to other well-connected students received higher-ranking leadership positions than male students with low centrality in the networks. High network centrality likely provided better access to the job market and negotiation information that was scattered throughout the school's network. While the latter finding held true for women, high-placing female students also had access to predominantly female contacts who were connected to other unique contacts. In contrast, female students with access to inner circles mainly comprised of men placed relatively poorly. The findings suggest that while both male and female students require high centrality within social networks to place into high-ranked positions, female students additionally need access to a strong network of same-gender support, according to the authors.


Article #17-21438: "A network's gender composition and communication pattern predict women's leadership success," by Yang Yang, Nitesh V. Chawla, and Brian Uzzi.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Uzzi, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; tel: 847-491-8072, 847-467-2527; email:

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