Ladies, dating can be bad for your career goals

  • Article by: JEFF STRICKLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2012 - 8:30 AM

Is dating bad for career goals?

The number of men available for dating can affect a woman's career path, a study done partly at the University of Minnesota found. The less likely women are to find mates, the more energy they put into launching their careers, said Vlad Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing at the Carlson School of Management.

Griskevicius and his research partner, Kristina Durante at the University of Texas at San Antonio, have been doing some unusual marketing studies, including one that found that men's spending habits are a function of the number of available women -- fewer women means more spending -- and another that discovered that women buy racier clothing when they are ovulating.

This study consisted of two parts. In the first, the researchers collated demographic data about single adults.

"In places where there are fewer bachelors, there's a greater percentage of women in higher-earning careers," Griskevicius said. They also tend to get married later and have fewer children.

The second part of the study involved interviews with women in college. Half of the subjects were led to believe that more men than women were enrolled at the school, while the rest heard the opposite. Then they were asked about their futures. Respondents who felt that their colleges provided bleak dating prospects were more motivated to pursue ambitious careers.

So, a woman attending an all-female college will tend to demonstrate more academic ambition? And, returning to one of the earlier studies, a man at an all-male college will spend less money?

Alas, it's not that simple, Griskevicius said. "The data is never as clean as you want it to be," he said. "We speculated about colleges that are only-female or only-male, but it turns out that it has something to do with the mix of men and women."

Sounds like another study might be on the way.

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