Men better than women at social networking, claims LinkedIn

22 Jun 2011

Men are more savvy social networkers than women, a survey of LinkedIn users in the US has revealed. The survey finds that men and women exhibit differences in their online professional networking behaviours.

The survey found greater male savvy in areas like law enforcement and capital markets and here’s a surprise – even in cosmetics.

The top industries that the female of the species demonstrated greater savvy in were also a surprise – tobacco and ranching, for example.

Industries that men and women demonstrate equal savvy in terms of social networking are market research, media production, dairy, individual and family services, and paper and forest products.

Who’s more savvy then?

LinkedIn’s analytics team grabbed the current industry, current company and professional connections of members in the US. It was then able to guess a person’s gender using their first name and some previously established techniques using a database of baby names.

The analytics team measured networking “savviness” as a ratio of two things: 1) the ratio of one-way connections that men have to connections that women have, and 2) the ratio of male members on LinkedIn to female members. It labelled an industry as “female savvy” when, for example, 45pc of the industry is female and where women have 70pc of the connections.

A perfectly neutral industry is one in which the percentage of females in the industry is equal to the percentage of connections that women have in the industry.

“Another cool cut of the data is when we look at savviness at the company level. In the US, some examples of companies where males are the more savvy networkers are Walmart, Kaiser Permanente, and, surprisingly, Mary Kay (a majority/women-oriented company),” explained LinkedIn’s Scott Nicholson.

“Best Buy is a highly female-savvy company, as are Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. And, then there are companies like Comcast that fall right in the middle — “neutral savviness” part — of the spectrum,” Nicholson said.

battle of the sexes

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years