Reentering the workforce after a gap in employment: Biases, stereotypes, and gender roles.

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Ramirez Campos, Natalia
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Middle Tennessee State University
This study sought to examine the participants’ likelihood of hiring an applicant who met the minimum qualifications for a Research Analyst position and who had taken time off from their job for a period of 5 years. The conditions varied in terms of gender (i.e., female or male applicant) and gap condition (i.e., applicants presented a gap in the resume for being a stay-at-home parent, did not provide an explanation for the gap in the resume, or did not have a gap in the resume). The Ambiguity Aversion Theory and Role Congruity Theory were two theories used to develop hypotheses about aversion to ambiguity and gender biases in relation to parenting and return to the workforce after a gap in employment. The study supported the Ambiguity Aversion Theory, suggesting that the absence of information was considered risky (i.e., no explanation for the gap in the resume). Consequently, participants were more likely to hire those applicants who provided an explanation for their gap or did not have a gap on their resumes. There were no significant findings for gender biases towards parenting and taking time off to raise children.