In 2019, Prof. Carlos Tavares had two publications co-authored with research collaborators Jessi Streib, Jane Rochmes, Felicia Arriaga and Emi Weed published in leading sociology journals: Social Problems and Sex Roles. Citations, abstracts and links below. Congratulations Prof. Tavares!
Streib, Jessi, Jane Rochmes, Felicia Arriaga, Carlos Tavares and Emi Weed. 2019. “Writing in Race: Evidence Against Employers’ Assumptions About Race and Soft Skills.” Social Problems.
Hiring managers and segments of the American public believe that white, black, and Hispanic job-seekers present distinct soft skills to employers. Sociologists have not tested this belief and provide competing theories about whether it is likely to be true. Structural theories maintain that different resources and networks inhibit racial groups from displaying similar non-technical skills and experiences, while cultural approaches posit that all groups can access and display a variety of soft skills. Based on a content analysis of 1,124 applications that white, black, and Hispanic job-seekers used to apply for the same job, we find little evidence supporting the belief in racial distinctions in soft skills. Instead, white, black, and Hispanic applicants in our sample presented the same top reasons for applying, the same top personal characteristics, the same top college activities, and were equally likely to follow professional norms. We discuss the generalizability of our findings and their implications for theories of access to these skills.
Streib, Jessi, Jane Rochmes, Felicia Arriaga, Carlos Tavares and Emi Weed. 2019. “Presenting Their Gendered Selves? How Women and Men Describe Who They Are, What They Have Done and Why They Want the Job in Their Written Applications.” Sex Roles 81: 610–626.
Occupational segregation is due, at least in part, to differences in what jobs women and men apply to and how they are evaluated. However, we know little about one mechanism that may relate to employers’ evaluations and, therefore, to occupational segregation: how applicants present themselves to employers. Theories of gender presentation offer competing predictions of how applicants present themselves to employers and empirical studies have not fully examined the issue. We address this theoretical ambiguity and empirical gap by drawing upon 1124 randomly selected applications that U.S. women and men used to apply for the same high-status job. After conducting a content analysis, we found that women and men present themselves similarly in terms of why they want the job and what experiences they have, but differently in terms of who they are and what information they divulge. We conclude that different aspects of applications correspond to different theories of gender presentation, but that most of the evidence supports a perspective of minimal gender differences. The present study implies that one way to combat occupational segregation that occurs due to employers’ essentialist beliefs is to point them to how women and men actually present themselves in their applications.