STORM & The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Research Center Proudly Present:


Gender Gap in Startup Recruitment: Evidence from a Regression-Discontinuity-in-Time Approach


About the Research

Women are not only underrepresented as founders in startups but also as employees. However, there is limited understanding of the reasons behind this disparity. Traditional explanations that focus on the supply side fail to fully account for the emergence of the gender gap. We shift the focus to the demand side and argue that the challenges women face in being recruited by startups stem from employers perceiving them as uncertain hires. Nevertheless, when the cost of reversing hiring decisions decreases, startups are more inclined to consider traditionally uncertain hires, such as women, in order to assess their suitability for the job. Through an analysis of Portuguese registry data from 2009 to 2013 and the application of the Regression in Time Discontinuity Design (RDiT), we provide support for our assertions. Following the implementation of a reform that reduces the cost of terminating employees, startups demonstrate an increased likelihood of hiring women. Overall, our research provides evidence of a gender gap among employees in startups, stemming from employers’ negative bias.

About Olenka Kacperczyk

Olenka Kacperczyk is a Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School. She received her PhD from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.


Olenka’s research focuses on entrepreneurship and examines (a) why individuals sometimes give up their jobs and become entrepreneurs and (b) how people’s movements into entrepreneurship affect social inequality, workplace segregation, and income distribution.


Olenka currently serves as an Associate Editor at Administrative Science Quarterly. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Kauffman Junior Faculty Scholarship for Entrepreneurship Research and the William F. Glueck Award at the Academy of Management.

Date: Tuesday 5 December, 2023

Time: 12:00-13:30 CET

Venue: Room A1106 (Zoom link provided to registered attendees)

Should you want to attend, please register at