If you like your publicity “controversial” keep reading: professional networking site LinkedIn this week released results of its research into gender differences in online professional networking and found that men tend to be savvier at it than women.

The research defined online professional networking savviness as “the ratio of two things: the ratio of connections that men have to connections that women have, and the ratio of male members on LinkedIn to female members.” Yes, the ratio of two ratios equals a press release.

So, by studying online professional networking savviness by looking at users of the world’s largest professional networking website, what did they find? Well, in some industries men have a higher ‘savviness rating‘ than women, and in other industries women have a higher ‘savviness rating’ than men. In writing and editing, philanthropy, marketing and advertising, and alternative dispute resolution, women were found to be savvier, while in industries such as human resources, newspapers, capital markets, and the military, men had a higher savviness rating.

The main results were consistent locally and globally, but there was a difference in industry-based trends between Australia and the rest of the world. Globally there was a tendency for men to be more networking savvy in industries traditionally dominated by women, and vice versa, but this trend wasn’t carried on in Australia.

The news is sure to be hotly discussed around water coolers the world over this week, especially in the companies whose results were specifically mentioned. It was found that females working for Origin Energy, RailCorp and Leighton Contractors were savvier online professional networkers than their male colleagues, while the opposite was found among Flight Centre, Queensland Health and University of New South Wales employees.

What wasn’t mentioned in the report was how LinkedIn-savvy non-members were, although presumable the site hopes that these latest findings will spur those who haven’t yet signed up to do so.