Male job applicants are perceived to have high levels of leadership potential and are rated as a better employment prospect than a female applicant with proven leadership track record, according to a presentation at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Liverpool which discussed how 98 participants (39 women) participated in an online hiring simulation.

Each participant was shown four potential applicants for a managerial role with roughly the same age. The applications differed by varying the applicant's gender and assessments of leadership potential and leadership achievement. Participants evaluated each applicant for how successful they thought each would be in their career and which had the most impressive CV.

Male applicants with leadership potential were most likely to be seen as successful and having the most impressive CV. Also, the findings suggested that men with leadership potential were rated higher than men with leadership performance. However, female applicants with potential were not rated higher than those with performance.

"The findings have implications for gender equality in the workplace and provide initial evidence that women's leadership potential is not recognized by potential employers. This is a significant barrier to career progression and success for women." 

Full poster presentation title: 'The Role of Gender in Hiring Situations: The Preference for Potential'.