Exploring the role of gender : A study of the recruitment process within the private and financial sector in Sweden

University essay from Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Author: Lisa Boman; Stina Åkerlund; [2013]

Keywords: ;


Even though there are more women that attend, and graduate, from higher education in Sweden there are still few women on an executive level within companies. Hence, it is crucial to understand the recruitment process and its influence on the segregation on the labour market. Therefore, the aim of this research was:


To explore gender structures within the recruitment process for positions on an executive level within the financial sector in Sweden.


In order to fulfil the aim we formulated two sub-purposes that guided our choice of theories. They were; to explore executives’ viewpoint and experiences of the recruitment process with regards to gender and to identify criterions that recruiters values when evaluating applicants according to gender. The theories used are within the areas of the recruitment process, the homosocial theory of sex roles as well as theories regarding traits. Furthermore, the study is based on Swedish laws and regulations.


A qualitative research approach was conducted. Two men were interviewed as well as three women on an executive level together with two female recruiters. In total, the qualitative research consists of seven semi-structured interviews that were analyzed by using the method of content analysis.


The main conclusion of this study was that gender structures are highly present within the recruitment process and that they are active on three levels. Furthermore, the findings imply that both the recruiters and executives possess awareness about the gender structures and the respondents described the recruitment as a matching process which could contribute to preserving the gender distributions. The findings also display the significance of networks that might cause gender elimination for positions on an executive level. Lastly, the findings clearly demonstrate that stereotypes results in gender specific behaviours.

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