Employers looking for tech talent are still more likely to interview men for their open positions, according to technology and sales recruiting firm Hired’s analysis of how its clients use its platform.
Hired, whose trick is that companies effectively apply to interview job seekers—reversing the usual paradigm—instead of the other way around, reviewed nearly 64,000 job postings and more than 860,000 interactions between applicants and employers between 2018 and 2022. These efforts come down to his State of wage inequality in the technology industry report [PDF] for 2023
Among the report’s findings are that among tech positions advertised through Hired in 2022, about one in ten resulted in interview requests to only white people. In 2018, that number was 26 percent — so while there’s a decline, there still seems to be a problem.
Charts from Hired showing overall decline in positions offering interviews only to men and white people – Click to enlarge
The paper also found that Asian and European women saw a reduction in pay inequality last year. But inequality remains.
Women are also often overlooked on Hired — the recruiting business said 38 percent of positions advertised in 2022 generated only male interview requests. That’s up one percentage point from 2021, but overall still an improvement from 2018 — the start of the report’s data — when that number was 45 percent.
Your unconscious biases are showing
Those doing the hiring don’t seem to think there’s as big a problem as Hired’s data suggests. Ninety-nine percent of hiring managers who responded to Hired’s survey insisted they “make efforts to ensure hiring decisions are free of bias.”
According to Hired, data and survey responses from job seekers and employers show that biased hiring practices are not hard to find in more than half of the industries hiring professionals through its platform. The report shows that disparities are particularly evident in the manufacturing, healthcare and media/entertainment sectors.
Hired said that two specific types of biases, both unconscious, appear regularly in his data: affinity bias (hiring people who are similar to oneself) and confirmation bias (focusing on candidate information that supports preexisting beliefs ).
None of these biases should be direct, aggressive, or even offensive. Hired identified the 68 percent of employers who cite “cultural fit” as a qualification as particularly susceptible to such biases creeping into hiring.
“Using ‘culture fit’ is fine if you’re talking about core values – like a commitment to innovation, philanthropy or respect for others,” said Naeth senior vice president of people strategy Sam Friedman. Such positions can affect how well a new employee fits into the overall company. But Hired said those habits can just as easily lead to homogenous workplaces dominated by groupthink.
Hired proposed a greater emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as one way to address the issues identified above. However, this does not necessarily mean more training and seminars on unconscious bias. While 51 percent of hiring managers said their DEI teams were “a must,” 14 percent of those in the same position said such initiatives “create an unfair advantage for some groups.”
Never mind the fact that Hired also found that 82 percent of female job seekers and 69 percent of male job seekers said they would be more interested in working for an employer that received recognition for DEI initiatives.
Previous research cited by Hired found that DEI training does not change behavior.
With Hired observing that 80 percent of hiring leaders report feeling pressured by employees to reduce bias in hiring and pay, now is the perfect time for companies to make sure their names aren’t associated with discriminatory practices for hire.
Hired recommends anonymizing resumes—by hiding personal information like name, gender, and age—and also recommends structured interviews where all applicants are asked the same questions.
If technical assessments are part of the interview process, Hired recommends moving to an asynchronous system, which will not only prevent hiring managers from unwittingly biasing candidates, but also free up their time.
The study also looks at the effects of salary transparency legislation, which Hired says is on the rise in the US. According to the recruiting team’s findings, all states and cities that have implemented pay transparency laws have shown an improvement in pay equity in their regions.
“Now is the time to take advantage of this critical moment, bridging the opportunity and expectation gaps.” Embrace salary transparency and commit to DEI’s principles to pave the way for a fairer future… It’s the right thing to do,” said Hired CEO Josh Brenner. ®