The first thing we care about when eyeing a new job is what the job itself would entail. But beyond those specific responsibilities, the most important thing about where you build a career is company culture. How you fit in, how you and your colleagues are treated, what a company's leadership values, all of these are key to ensuring your happiness (and productivity) at work.
It's important to ask a lot of questions about work culture when you're interviewing for a job. That said, there are also some interesting cheat codes available. Researchers at the University of Connecticut and the University of Saskatchewan have just published a paper on one of those shortcuts: Essentially, one quick way to guess at a company's culture is to find out whether its CEO is married.
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According to a press release, when your company head has a spouse, they "typically have greater concern for their employees' well-being, and are more accepting of diverse employees, than are their nonmarried peers." These findings also play out in how leaders act out corporate responsibility measures: "In particular, organizations led by married CEOs are more likely to support hiring and promotion of women, minorities, and disabled employees, as well as advancing gay and lesbian policies… They also scored well in affirmative action, employee benefits, labor relations, employee health and retirement benefits, safety and well-being, profit sharing, and stock ownership."
Probably dropping a question about the CEO's marriage status isn't the smoothest way of getting a read on things. Still, if you think you'll do well at a new company, this could be one of the first signs confirming it.