Saturday, April 19, 2008

The twenty-first-century campus: where are the men?

I want to hire five management trainees. Through our HR partner, we received 180 resumes, out of which 35 were shortlisted as potential interviewees.

When I went through these resumes, one "unbalance" was apparent: the proportion of female candidates is higher than male candidates.

I may be old-fashioned, though, for having this kind of thought - especially when we focused on getting engineering-background management trainees. My biased reference is the three females we had out of 130+ students in my Mechanical Engineering class (but that was in the twentieth century, quite some time ago!) :)

This is, however, pretty much similar to an article I read in a Sociology textbook by John J. Macionis about the decreasing number of male students in the U.S. universities (or the rise of the number of female students?) In 2000, men accounted for 44% of college students in the U.S.

Some of his interesting discussions:

Out of class, many women soon complained that having so few men on campus hurt their social life; not surprisingly, most of the men felt otherwise about their own social life. (yeah, right... you go boys!)

Some suggest that young men are drawn away from college by the lure of jobs, especially in high technology, a pattern sometimes termed "Bill Gates syndrome".

Anti-intellectual male culture. While young women are drawn to learning and seek to do well in school, young men are more likely to see studying negatively and to dismiss schoolwork as "something for girls".

Or yet a more simple, possible explanation: the male students aren't smart, or impressive, enough to make the shortlist.