While significant progress has been made since the days of suffragettes, there is much to be done in order to secure gender equality. In fact, with the current rate of progress, the gender pay gap will remain for another 108 years - a timeline we can all agree is just not good enough.
One of the biggest fuelers of gender inequality in the workplace is institutionalized bias. And one of the reasons bias is so pervasive and persistent is because a majority of the time it’s unconscious - so ingrained into our daily interactions, collaborations, and perspectives that we just don’t notice it.
Here’s a snapshot of the current state of gender bias and how to identify it within your workplace:
1. Recruiters are 13% less likely to open a women’s online profile in a search and 3% less likely to send them a recruiting message.
A recent report from Linkedin showed that recruiters show a preference for male candidates over female candidates, finding that recruiters click on 13% more male profiles and are 3% less likely to send a female candidate an inMail after viewing their profile.
Whether this is unconscious or not, there’s an easy solution - profile anonymization. Hiding gender cues from a candidate’s resume is a form of blind hiring, an idea that dates back to the 1970s when orchestras had auditioners stand behind a screen in order to hide their identity– leading to a 20% increase in female musicians within the top 5 American orchestras. By applying these same principles to candidate sourcing, employers can eliminate opportunities for bias to slip into the hiring process.
2. Female candidates list 16% fewer keywords in their profiles compared to male candidates with the same level of experience in similar roles.
By analyzing our database of over 500 million candidates, we found that women are much more likely to undersell themselves on their resumes. The fact that women list 16% fewer keywords in their online profiles and resumes than men has huge repercussions in a recruiting world were keyword searches are king. Not only are women overlooked for jobs that they are more than qualified for, but companies are missing out on a huge pool of talent.
We say it’s more than time to move away from a reliance on traditional keyword searches- which is why we’ve built algorithms that look specifically at a candidate’s past work experience, job titles, and even the skills listed on similar resumes to flush out sparse profiles with predicted skills.
3. Women with children are 23.5% less likely to land an interview than men with children.
A recent study found that men and women with the same qualifications were affected differently by children - women with children were far less likely to land a job interview than their male counterparts. While it’s unlikely that recruiters or hiring managers are specifically disqualifying women with children, they may be disqualifying them based on the larger work gaps present on their resume.
One solution is to completely remove or hide work gaps from candidate profiles. Rather than do this manually, find a sourcing tool that offers this level of anonymization – not to toot our own horn, but we’re really proud of the strides our customers have made using Entelo’s unbiased sourcing mode.
Another option is to rethink parental leave policies. According to research conducted by Mercer, each month of paternal leave a man takes corresponds to a 7% increase in salary for women. Companies that offer comparable maternal and paternal leave not only level the playing field when it comes to work gaps, but also allow for parental responsibilities to be more evenly split and ultimately provide women with the support to return to work at higher rates.
4. Mothers are considered to be 12.1% less committed to their jobs than non-mothers while fathers were perceived as being 5% more committed than non-fathers.
Once women with children manage to dodge the prevailing biases of the interview process, they are more than likely to face continued bias for their status as a ‘working mom.’ In fact, a study out of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Public Policy found that not only are mothers deemed less committed to their non-mothers but fathers were actually seen as MORE committed to their jobs than non-fathers. Talk about a double standard!
These findings indicate the importance of effective bias training for hiring teams. A great starting point is the Implicit Association Test - a survey that employees can take to bring awareness to biases within their decision processes. However, the most effective programs are long-term commitments that provide ongoing training and dialogue amongst employees.
5. Hiring teams who deny the existence of bias within their processes are much less likely to hire and promote women.
It’s clear that the first step to eradicating gender bias is admitting there’s an issue. When team’s are aware of potential biases, and the hurdles that women are much more likely to face within the hiring process, they can be more self-aware about their own motivations behind their decision process and work to set aside those that are unwarranted.
Mentioned above, bias training is a great way to start organization-wide conversation and tackle bias head on. However, your team must be engaged and open to examining their own internal thought processes and decision-making. One of the most common training pitfalls is what Awaken CEO Michelle Kim calls the Naysayer Problem, “When unconscious bias training is made compulsory without proper messaging or executive sponsorship, some people might feel forced to attend and become resentful. These salty people may end up clouding the entire training with their resentful attitude and push-backs.” She advises companies to secure experienced faciliators, set ground rules, limit lecturing, and incorporate interactive material throughout the program. Learn more about her approach here.
Rooting out gender bias in the workplace is a necessary step to achieving gender equality - and it starts in your workplace. What steps have you taken to identify and remove bias within your hiring process? We would love to hear what’s worked and what hasn’t in the comments below.