I came across an article some time ago that detailed the results of a study that looked for any bias shown by Human Resources (HR) personnel when recruiting new staff.
“… we’re talking about the human resource professionals who, thumbing through resumes, act as the gate-keepers to employment around the world. Are they men or women? Because sadly, oh-so-uncomfortably, it matters.”
The researchers detected a significant incidence of bias. They found that, for example, more attractive men where often selected in preference to less attractive men whilst less attractive women were chosen in preference to more attractive women. The researchers considered and disallowed the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype (i.e. attractive women as being more likely to be stupid) as a reason for this discrimination.
“So the cause of the discrimination must lie elsewhere. Human resources departments tend to be staffed mostly by women. Indeed, in the Israeli study, 93% of those tasked with selecting whom to invite for an interview were female. The researchers’ unavoidable—and unpalatable—conclusion is that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates.”
It is becoming increasingly apparent that gender discrimination that may have begun as bias demonstrated by particular individuals has become a systemic practice.
It should come as no surprise that the domestic violence industry, for example, features many organisations that include few or no men in either their boards or their ranks of employees (some examples here). In June 2021 one such organisation, Women’s Safety NSW, advertised two positions – Policy Officer and CEO. They state “We are hiring a Policy Officer to join our team of fabulous women! If you are passionate about women’s justice, safety and wellbeing please click the link to read more.” Both ads featured the proviso that “Women’s Safety NSW considers being a woman a genuine occupational qualification for this position under s 31 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)”
CCC finds QPS engaged in gender discrimination in QLD Police Academy (news.com.au) and Queensland police discriminated against 200 potential male recruits in favour of women, report finds | Australian police and policing | The Guardian (12 May 2021)
Swedish study suggests hiring discrimination is primarily a problem for men in female-dominated occupations (8 May 2021)
Why you should hire women over men, according to science (6 March 2020)
Women’s legal service wins right to exclude men from advertising, recruitment, employment practices (15 May 2019) Australia. And how many instances have there been, at federal and state level, of organisations being allowed to only seek male candidates? Any? Ever?
West Midlands Police accused of ‘discriminating against white male officers’ (15 November 2018) and see related tweet by Martin Daubney
Cern scientist: ‘Physics built by men – not by invitation’ (1 October 2018) Scientist Alessandro Strumia earns feminist and White Knight outrage because he suggested, amongst other things, that female scientists were given a distinct advantage in the recruitment process.
AFP’s call for female recruits causes major stir online (1 October 2017) This video addresses this ‘initiative’
Mark Latham: ‘White male privilege’ myth busted (11 July 2017)
“white men were 6.5 per cent less likely to be short-listed”
Discrimination by and diversity within HR department (5 March 2017) Reddit discussion thread
I’m a young researcher trying hard to find work, but I can’t apply for these positions because penis (16 October 2016) Australia. Reddit discussion thread and linked job advertisement from Swinburne University of Technology for five women-only positions.
“We are proud to be recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality for the past 7 consecutive years.” This has to be a joke, right?
Is Silicon Valley Discriminating Against Men and Asians? (14 October 2016)
“Are lawsuits like these a good thing, or are they going to stall efforts to move towards more diversity in Silicon Valley?” (Because fighting discrimination is only OK when it’s the right kind of discrimination, huh?)
Australian Bureau of Statistics to discriminate against hiring men (15 September 2016)
Commission threatens hiring ‘freeze’ on men if more women don’t get top jobs (28 July 2016) Europe
People interviewing for a tech job had their genders masked. It made things worse for the women (1 July 2016) USA. The same study was also covered in Breitbart. Researchers expected anti-female bias but found the opposite. Author of this article tries to explain away the results.
Melbourne University advertises female-only jobs in bid to remedy gender imbalance in maths (18 May 2016) Related Reddit discussion thread here, and critical response from Janet Bloomfield below:
“He also found that less than 5 percent of men working part time received callbacks. However, the study found no negative effect for part-time employment among women.”
Buzzfeed Canada is recruiting, but doesn’t want white males (19 February 2016)
Tasmania’s top public servant targets gender parity (17 February 2016) Given that 70% of the state’s public service is female, will Greg Johannes also be writing to head of agencies with >50% women to ask them to recruit more men? Gee, I doubt it.
Women out earn men in 29 fields after college. The reason seems to be gender discrimination. How can this be legal? (21 January 2016) Reddit discussion thread and linked article
Being a good looking man could hinder your career, study finds (8 December 2015) UK
University of York cancels International Men’s Day plans after students and staff protest Dr Adrian Lee’s controversial comments (17 November 2015) That preference was given to hiring women at the Uni of York
The unfairer sex? (18 April 2015) On recruitment bias in the STEM sector
Women preferred 2:1 over men for STEM faculty positions and Academics rate women job applicants higher than identical men: study (13 April 2015) “The bias toward women “was totally unexpected,” said psychologist and co-author Wendy Williams of Cornell University. We were shocked.”
Seven secrets of dating from the experts at OkCupid (29 September 2014) See section 6 for findings in relation to interview requests
Erotic capital: Danish women losing out (29 September 2014)
People Management Finds Widespread HR Bias against Men and Overweight Women (1 November 2012) They found that 37% of respondents revealed a negative bias against men
Can anyone suggest other sources that explore this issue? I would be particularly interested in any studies that looked at HR staff displaying discrimination against older job applicants. In my experience most HR staff are not only females, but younger females, and I think it’s quite likely that they display an equal or greater degree of bias against older job applicants (as they appear to display against men).
Another post in this blog includes links related to discrimination towards women pertaining to employment, grants, etc.