When an resume screener is unaware of a job applicant’s gender, they tend to interview more women at tech companies. This is according to the results of a study of an experiment that tech jobs recruiter company, Speak With a Geek, recently completed. They removed gender from the submitted job applications and discovered that women were basically being discriminated against. Male hiring personnel consistently are biased in their hiring decisions towards men over considering women.
Major technology firms need to pay attention to this problem if they are going to be taken seriously about build a diverse employee base. Speak With a Geek has been in operation since 1999. Recently, they shared the results of their ‘blind job applications.’ The idea was to remove all personally identifiable details from each job application, for both men and women. Hiring decisions were based purely on their actual qualifications, without race, gender, or schooling clouding the application screeners’ judgement.
Speak With a Geek submitted 5,000 of their job candidates to a group of tech companies seeking employees. First, they made no change to the traditional practice of identifying applicants’ names, schooling, background, and experience. Only 5 percent of applicants selected were women. When they ran the experiment, suppressing all those personally identifiable details, the percentage of women selected for interview jumped up to 54 percent women!
This issue has become a really big deal for the technology sector. Companies like Facebook, Google, Intel Corp., and Apple are publicly traded firms that are required to release annual reports on the status of their operations, revenue streams, and employee diversity. Comparing these public company reports over many years, there seems little improvement in the hiring of women applicants. One major tech company has only about 32 percent female employees and has consistently only grown that number by 1 point per year.
The causes for these limitations for qualified women workers in high tech has been identified by Speak With a Geek. The company is promoting the removal of any traces of race or gender in job applications and resumes during the application analysis phase of hiring. Part of the problem in the minds of hiring personnel seems to be a prejudice towards men when it comes to jobs such as writing computer code. Read more about this issue in this CNET article.