The Strategist

Study: Socially active top managers attract more job seekers

09/30/2019 - 10:03

Researchers from France and the UK have found that company executives who speak out on relevant political or social issues are attracting increased interest from job seekers. Thus, activist leaders are given more opportunities to select potential employees. However, if top managers are too conservative, the positive effect of such activity immediately disappears.

Amtec Photos via flickr
Amtec Photos via flickr
The study was prepared by specialists from three educational institutions from France and the UK. During the study, scientists interviewed US citizens, because "recently, among American top managers, there has been increased activism on political issues."

Results showed that people more often want to get jobs in those companies where managers take an active political position. The percentage of those who wish (readiness ratio - 3.73%) was on average 15% higher than those companies who refrained from commenting on the most pressing social and political issues (readiness ratio 3.25%).

However, if scenarios were proposed in which the top manager took a more conservative position, the number of people wishing to work in such a company was even less than in those where the top manager refrained from commenting (readiness ratio 2.85%).

Researchers also studied attitude to gender of the alleged CEOs. However, contrary to their expectations, genders almost did not affect connection between attractiveness of the company and the activism of the top manager (or its absence). There was only a slight correlation between how liberal or conservative views were expressed by the male or female general director: if the female general director expressed conservative views, then there were slightly fewer people wishing to go to work in this company (readiness coefficient 2.82) than in the case of conservative male CEO (readiness ratio 2.90). If the female CEO expressed an active liberal position, then a little more people wanted to join the company (coefficient 3.77), compared to a male director with the same position (coefficient 3.61). 

“Results of the study showed that the positive effect of the active public position of the CEO disappears if he takes a more conservative position on a number of issues of a social and humanitarian nature, for example, same-sex marriage,” says Christian Voegtlin, professor at Audencia Business School. "People would like to work in companies where the CEO generally refrains from commenting on such issues, whether male or female."


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