More tips about jobs and job oportunities in upper management positions seem to available to white men rather than women and racial minorities,researchers at North Carolina State University have found.
They say that their findings highlight racial and gender inequality in the labour market.
"Our research shows that 95 times out of 100, white men receive more job leads than white women or Hispanic men or women," says Dr. Steve McDonald, an assistant professor of sociology at NC State, the lead author of the study.
On average, according to the researchers, there is no difference in the number of job leads received by white men compared to black men and women.
"However, white males receive more job leads when they are high-level supervisors, while black men and women receive more job leads when they are in non-management positions that supervise no one," McDonald says.
The research team's findings suggest that the disparity between white men, minorities and women is greatest among workers in high-level management.
McDonald says: "These gender and race differences in access to job opportunities help to explain why white men continue to fill a disproportionately large number of jobs in upper management."
The study examined data from a nationally representative survey of 3,000 people, and looked at the amount of information people received about job opportunities through routine conversations without asking for it.
McDonald partly attributes the gap in job information between white men and Hispanics to the fact that whites tend to have more "social capital" than Hispanics.
The researcher explains that social capital, in this context, is defined as the extent and quality of connections to people in various fields of employment.
The study, however, has not ascertained why white women receive fewer tips on job opportunities than white men, since the two groups have approximately the same amount of social capital.
Also remains unexplained is the point as to why the job leads disparity among women and minorities was greatest among high-level supervisors.
McDonald says that while the study could not reach any firm conclusions on the issue, the disparity may stem from some form of either conscious or subconscious discrimination on the part of co-workers and employers.