Does it Still Take One to Know One? Gender Demography and Assignment of Women to HR Director Positions – an Empirical Analysis in 10 European Countries

Astrid Reichel, Julia Brandl

Publication: Contribution to conferenceConference poster


It is often claimed that female HR professionals are underrepresented at the managerial level, yet the organizational conditions facilitating their enrollment are little understood. Building on organizational demography research we explore how the gender structure of organizations influences the selection of women for HR director positions. In contrast to previous anecdotic work that solely focused on the proportion of women in the workforce (to investigate the effect of gender composition on the assignment of women to HR managerial positions), the study uses a large scale international survey, also looks at effects from the gender composition of the HR department staff and assesses conditions under which gender demographic effects take place. Consistent with our propositions, we find that a high proportion of women working at the HR staff level increases the likelihood of a female HR director significantly. Different from what previous research suggested, this effect is not found for the proportion of women in the total workforce. Recruitment forms (internal/external, degree of formalization) do not influence demographic effects either.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008

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