Recruitment bias favours hiring female staff

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.”

There is increasing evidence, however, that gender discrimination that may have begun as individual bias is now becoming a systemic practice as described in some of the linked references below.

See also:

Mark Latham: ‘White male privilege’ myth busted (11 July 2017)

“white men were 6.5 per cent less likely to be short-listed”

Blind recruitment trial to boost gender equality making things worse, study reveals (30 June 2017)

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?)

Ex-Yahoo employee sues Marisa Mayer claiming she led an illegal purge of male employees (8 October 2016)

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:

Positive discrimination will have exactly the opposite effect you hope for, Melbourne University. Smarten up (18 May 2016)

Part-time work could hurt jobseekers’ future prospects, UT study finds (3 March 2016)

“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.

A man who got laid-off from Yahoo is suing the company for alleged sexual discrimination (2 February 2016)

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

Toronto company Vestra Inet prefers ‘female candidates’ for receptionist work (23 November 2015)

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

Women have substantial advantage in STEM faculty hiring, except when competing against more-accomplished men (20 October 2015)

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.”

National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track (5 March 2015)

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)

http://www.hrzone.com/feature/people/unconscious-bias-module-your-modern-management-programme/141276

http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/hidden-biases-against-men-overweight-women-found-in-uk-test-145200.aspx

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

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/04/04/toronto-councillor-wonders-if-city-hall-has-policy-discriminating-against-hiring-white-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).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *