Men Are Rewarded More When Socializing at Work

Study saw men reap greater benefits when making an effort to get to know new colleagues
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2024 5:00 PM CDT
Socializing at Start of a New Job Benefits Men More
A new study says men may receive greater benefits when they socialize after starting a new gig.   (Getty/JLco - Julia Amaral)

A new study led by researchers from Rutgers University suggests that men receive greater benefits than women when they make an effort to socialize with new co-workers after starting a job. The university writes that the findings show a stark contrast in how men and women must navigate workplace culture in order to progress in their careers. The research centered around surveys given to 183 new hires across 93 departments at a public university. Controlling for factors like education level and personality type, the scientists provided questions to learn how the new employees were fitting in at work 30, 60, and 90 days after their start dates.

When men made efforts like scheduling lunch or going to happy hours with their new colleagues during their first month in, they said they experienced positive outcomes later in the study, such as understanding their jobs better, feeling socially connected at work, and being supported by their co-workers. But women who made the same efforts didn't report back any of the same benefits when surveyed two or three months into their new jobs. "This might help to explain how women's careers get held back right from the beginning," said lead author Lawrence Houston III. "Co-worker relations are considered the most vital factor in adjusting to a new workplace, and we know from prior research that most turnover occurs among new hires who struggle to adjust."

Along with happiness at work, gaining this early footing on the job could have consequences down the line. Per CBS News, research from McKinsey & Co. and Lean In saw that men were promoted at higher rates than women in entry-level jobs—100 male employees were promoted to every 87 women in similar positions overall, with an even greater difference for women of color (73). "We don't face a constraint on ambition—we face a constraint on opportunity," said Lareina Yee, senior partner at McKinsey & Co. Rutgers suggests ways to eliminate gender bias when onboarding new hires, including a longer onboarding process, setting up opportunities for them to build relationships with their colleagues, and creating mentoring programs for women. (These are the best companies for career growth.)

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