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Stereotypes at work: Occupational stereotypes predict race and gender segregation in the workforce

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of vocational behavior
Early online date18 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2019


The current research set out to understand the stereotypes individuals hold about occupations, and to examine how occupational segregation is related to incongruences between demographic and occupational stereotypes. In Study 1, we applied the Stereotype Content Model (SCM) to develop a novel classification of occupational stereotypes based on the dimensions of warmth and competence. We found evidence that occupations are reliably stereotyped along the dimensions of warmth and competence, and that raters agreed more on certain occupational stereotypes than others. In Study 2, we mapped the occupational stereotype classification onto demographic stereotypes from the SCM to predict occupational segregation in the United States. Supporting an occupational stereotype incongruence hypothesis, women were more represented in occupations characterized by high warmth and low competence; Asian people were more represented in occupations characterized by high competence; and Black and Hispanic workers were more represented in occupations characterized by low competence. This work contributes to the understanding of how individuals perceive occupations in society, provides researchers with a means for systematically comparing occupational stereotypes and demographic stereotypes by applying the same descriptive dimensions, and highlights the importance of occupational stereotypes for understanding and potentially alleviating occupational segregation.

    Research areas

  • stereotypes, occupations, occupational segregation, gender, race

ID: 98995389