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Friday, June 30, 2017

Gender-blind job application practice yields incredible results

Photo: AP
Leaders of Australian Public Service in an initiative to promote gender equality via blind recruitment efforts came up with interesting results when men and women filled out job applications that hid their gender.

The reason for the effort was to push more women into senior position jobs. 

The results revealed that removing the gender from a candidate's application does not, in fact, boost gender equality in hiring. In this study, it boosted a greater number of men being hired over women.

And interestingly enough, the trial also revealed that adding a male name to a candidate's application made them 3.2 percent less likely to get the job 
while adding a female name made it 2.9 percent more likely the candidate would be hired.  

So yes, there is a gender bias in hiring, at least in Australia, but it's the male gender that has the advantage.

Researchers thought that removing gender identifiers from an application  would make it easier for women to land the job in senior positions that have traditionally gone to men.

Wrong.

"We anticipated this would have a positive impact on diversity--making it more likely that female candidates and those from ethnic minorities are selected for the shortlist," Professor Michael Hiscox, a Harvard academic said. "We found the opposite, that de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist."

Hiscox warned governments and companies to consider the strong possibility that gender-blind hiring processes may actually lessen equality in the workplace, [but might enhance quality]. 

"We should hit pause and be very cautious about introducing this as a way of improving diversity, as it can have the opposite effect," he claimed.

But now we must ask ourselves, what does this really say about the hiring desirability of men vs. women for senior positions?

Why did men fare better than the women? 

And finally, is there a way to equalize these differences in the job market?