Female Executives and Perceived Employer Attractiveness: On the Potentially Adverse Signal of Having a Female CHRO Rather Than a Female CFO

  • Anja Iseke
  • Kerstin Pull
Original Paper


We investigate whether female executives influence perceived employer attractiveness for female job seekers. Drawing on signaling theory, we argue that female members in top management may signal organizational justice and organizational support and may therefore enhance perceived employer attractiveness. Findings from a scenario experiment with 357 participants indicate that female job seekers are more attracted to an organization with a female executive holding a non-stereotypical office [such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO)] as compared to an organization with an all-male top management. Results of a structural equation model show that perceived organizational justice mediates the positive effect of a female holding a non-stereotypical office (CFO) on perceived employer attractiveness, but perceived organizational support does not. Our results challenge the widely held view that women in top management will generally help attract female job seekers; rather, they suggest that a single female executive holding a stereotypical female office (such as Chief Human Resources Officer) even reduces perceived employer attractiveness.


Perceived employer attractiveness Female executives Perceived organizational justice Perceived organizational support Recruiting Signaling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Human and Animal rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Resource ManagementHochschule Ostwestfalen-LippeLemgoGermany
  2. 2.Human Resource Management and OrganizationEberhard Karls Universität TübingenTübingenGermany

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