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The study conducted by the Kompetenzzentrum Fachkräftesicherung (research unit on securing skilled labor, KOFA ) examined the applications of job seekers from the past year. The results show that more than half of the highly qualified unemployed females applied for jobs below their level, while the figure for their male counterparts was 45%. The results also notably found that unemployed males often apply for jobs for which they lack the relevant qualifications. According to Dr. Lydia Malin from the German Economic Institute (IW) , one particularly surprising finding of the study was that female academics in particular did not fulfil their potential.

One reason why women may be so reticent when applying for jobs seems to be that they interpret the requirements of an advertised position very stringently. If women cannot prove the required qualifications in the form of a certificate or diploma, they often refrain from applying. According to the study, men are much bolder here. Then there is also a structural problem. After a pregnancy, it is often difficult for women to return to their old job. Working time regulations are also often too inflexible. Interestingly, the study found that bottlenecks primarily occur in typically female or typically male jobs; gender-neutral occupations are less affected by bottlenecks.