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Gendering Expert Work And Ideal Candidacy In Finnish And Estonian Job Advertisements

Jatta Jännäri, S. Poutanen, Anne Kovalainen
Published 2018 · Sociology

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Purpose This paper aims to analyse the ways the textual materials of job advertisements do the gendering for prospective expert positions and create a space for ambiquity/non-ambiquity in the gender labelling of this expertise. Expert positions are almost always openly announced and are important to organizations because they often lead to higher managerial positions. By gendering the prospective positions, the job advertisements bring forth repertoires strengthening the gendering of work and gendered expert employee positions. Design/methodology/approach This study draws on qualitative textual and visual data of open job advertisements for expert positions. The materials of the study are gathered from open job advertisements in two countries, i.e. Finland and Estonia with rather similar labour market structures in relation to gender positions but differing as regards their gender equality. Findings The analyses show that the gendering of expert work takes place in the job advertisements by rendering subtly gendered articulations, yet allowing for interpretative repertoires appear. The analysis reveals some differences in the formulations of the advertisements for expert jobs in the two countries. It also shows that in general the requirements for an ideal expert candidate are coated with superlatives that are gendered in rather stereotypical ways, and that the ideal candidates for highly expert jobs are extremely flexible and follows the ideal of an adaptable and plastic employee, willing to work their utmost. This paper contributes to the “doing gender” literature by adding an analysis of the textual gendering of ideal candidates for positions of expertise. Research limitations/implications The research materials do not expose all the issues pertinent to questions of the ideal gendered candidate. For instance, questions of ethnicity in relation to the definition of the ideal candidate cannot be studied with the data used for this study. Being an exploratory study, the results do not aim for generalizable results concerning job advertisements for expert positions. Originality/value This paper contributes to the “doing gender” and “gendering” literature by addressing the question of how and in what ways gender is defined and done for an expert positions prior the candidates are chosen to those jobs. It also offers new insights into the global construction of gendered expert jobs advertisements by addressing the topic with data from two countries. It further contributes to understanding the gendered shaping of expertise in the management literature.
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