While previous research showed that men do not care about women’s education level when deciding which women to show interest in, there is an effect of labour market status: men show more interest in women who are employed compared to women who are ‘in between jobs’. But what job women hold exactly does not matter.
Undercover on tinder
In the study, 4,800 real Tinder users in Ghent, Bruges, Kortrijk, and Leuven received a ‘like’ – which is used to express interest in Tinder – from 32 fictitious Tinder profiles the researchers created. These fictitious profiles differed only in their jobs, which were assigned randomly. The jobs were supply chain consultant at Deloitte; management assistant at PREVABO BVBA; and salesperson at Proximus.
These jobs were chosen because a survey of 104 male and 114 female twentysomethings showed that these jobs were perceived as different with regard to the prestige of these jobs, without changing the job domain. There were also fictitious profiles that indicated that they were ‘in between jobs’.
By analysing the number of times the real Tinder users gave a ‘like’ to the various fictitious profiles (and thus a ‘match’ was created), it was possible to ascertain the extent to which men and women on Tinder attached importance to the jobs of potential dating partners.
The study was published in the journal De Economist.
Women are (much) more selective than men
A first interesting finding is that in the first phase on Tinder – in which profiles are evaluated by ‘liking’ them or not – women are (much) more selective than men. Indeed, when an average man rates 100 women on Tinder, he gives 61 of those 100 women a ‘like’. But when an average woman rates 100 men on Tinder, she gives a ‘like’ to only six men. So on Tinder, women are about ten times more selective than men (or men are ten times more hopeless than women).
Men are expected to take the initiative
A second interesting finding is when the researchers look at the second stage on Tinder – in which a conversation is started or not with a ‘match’. Female Tinder users started a conversation with our fictitious male profiles in 7.9% of their matches. Combined with the high selectivity by these women in the first phase on Tinder, this resulted in a total of only 12 conversations started by women. That is 0.5% of the total 2,400 liked female Tinder users. In contrast, male Tinder users initiated conversations with our fictitious female profiles in 43.3% of their matches. Combined with the low selectivity by these men in the first phase on Tinder, this accounted for a total of 632 conversations started by men, or 26.3% of the total 2,400 liked male Tinder users.
Labour market status does not play a role in liking, but it does in starting a conversation
When the researchers started looking at the effect of labour market status on success on Tinder (their main research question), they saw that in the first phase on Tinder – in which profiles are evaluated by liking or not liking them – for both male and female Tinder users, the job of a potential partner does not play a decisive role in the evaluation of evaluated profiles.
Regarding the effect of labour market status in the second stage on Tinder – in which a conversation is started or not – the researchers said that they could only perform this analysis for male Tinder users because, as mentioned above, too few female Tinder users started conversations with men.
Researchers observed that male Tinder users were less likely to start a conversation with women who were ‘in between jobs’ compared to women who were employed. But there was no difference between profiles who held a more prestigious job compared to profiles who held a less prestigious job. Apparently, when deciding whether or not to initiate a conversation, men have a preference for women who are employed, regardless of which job those women actually hold.
So, companies that are struggling to attract employees due to the current labour market tightness could also add ‘more chances of finding a partner’ under the subtitle ‘What do we offer?’ in job postings in order to attract female employees.