The authors study the impact of using informational messaging aimed at encouraging women to seek a career in technology and the resulting trade-offs for organizations pursuing recruitment strategies of this kind.
The authors' treatment, implemented through two field experiments among potential applicants to a five-month software-coding program targeted at low-income women in Peru and Mexico, counterbalances the strong male stereotype associated with a career in tech.
Although the authors' informational messages substantially increase application rates, including candidates at the top of the cognitive skill distribution, they introduce negative selection on cognitive skills, implying a higher cost of screening. Moreover, the authors observe selection on the noncognitive dimensions addressed with the treatment (e.g., stronger gender stereotypes and traditional norms).
This points to the barriers that preclude more women from applying to tech positions, as well as the trade-offs for organizations of adopting such a strategy.