When applying to entry-level jobs, white applicants receive 50% more callbacks than black applicants with similar resumes.
The evidence for implicit bias, the tendency for our brains to spontaneously and covertly preload stereotypes that affect our attitudes and decision-making, is widespread. And its effects are observable beyond hiring.
A study of more than 6,500 college professors, who received emails from doctoral student candidates containing race and gender signaling names, found white males were granted access to faculty 26% more often than females and ethnic minorities.
Implicit bias isn’t a synonym for racism, sexism, or any other -ism. Rather, it is a trait innate to the normal operation of our tribal, mammalian brains –evolved to distill and simplify complex arrays of information, recognize patterns, and construct generalizations.
It is, therefore, even in the face of credible efforts, a difficult phenomenon to overcome.
A Deal with the Devil
To avoid discrimination, almost a third (30 percent) of minority job-seekers now practice “resume whitening” in an attempt to outmaneuver bias –adopting Anglo-American sounding names and omitting experiences and affiliations that may provide racial cues from their resumes.
According to a recent resume audit study, the practice is effective. Using whitened resumes, Asian and African-American applicants increased their likelihood of receiving callbacks by ten percent and fifteen percent, respectively.
The study also observed that employers who actively present themselves as pro-diversity demonstrate the same levels of discrimination as those who don’t.
This presents an alarming paradox, “minorities may be particularly likely to experience disadvantage when they apply to ostensibly pro-diversity employers.” Minority job-seekers applying to pro-diversity employers may be less inclined to whiten their resumes, yet equally likely to suffer the effects of implicit bias.
Today’s minority job-seekers still face a disheartening trade-off –forsake your name and heritage or endure a significant disadvantage when looking for jobs.
The Business Case for Diversity
Beyond supporting socioeconomic equality, a growing body of corporate-led research presents a strong business case for companies to take diversity, and therefore implicit bias, seriously. Companies with a diverse workforce can positively affect their outcomes –starting from potential applicants all the way to top management.
A report by McKinsey & Company found, “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective industry medians.” A similar report by Boston Consulting Group agrees, finding companies with diverse leadership teams are more innovative and yield revenues nearly a fifth (19 percent) higher than their peers.
The importance of workplace diversity is unlikely to change any time soon. In fact, companies with more diverse workforces are –and will increasingly become –more attractive to job-seekers.
A recent Glassdoor survey states, “a full two-thirds (67 percent) of active and passive job-seekers said that a diverse workplace is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.”
A similar 2016 survey shows that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Millennials, who’ll represent 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, agree that:
“If I were to look for a new job tomorrow, a diverse and inclusive workplace would be important in my job search.”
BlindHire™ by Wayfindr
BlindHire™, a toggleable feature of Wayfindr, allows employers to redact all factors that may trigger bias, including name, picture, location, and video bio. With BlindHire™ activated, when an employer reviews a job applicant’s Wayfindr profile, they can assess the applicant for their skills and what they can do, not what they are and where they’re from.”
The redacted information is revealed only after an employer has engaged and expressed interest in an applicant through messages on the platform.
With diversity as a hot button issue, more and more companies have embraced the practice of blind hiring –including the likes of BBC, Deloitte, and HSBC. However, these companies only redact information off resumes, which already suffer from a lack of information.
BlindHire™ however, is much more efficient due to Wayfindr’s other powerful, data-rich tools and highly customizable profiles. Where resumes only list limited information on where an applicant has worked, a Wayfindr profile offers an abundance of information such as skills acquired, untraditional experiences, and glimpse(s) –curated texts, images, or videos designed to help job-seekers fully capture and present their values and interests.
BlindHire™ enabled companies looking to increase diversity are listed on the platform with a badge of honor –an icon that tells job-seekers they are committed to non-discriminatory hiring practices. BlindHire™ creates a level playing field for all job-seekers –empowering minority job-seekers to rest assured knowing they will be judged off their skills and experience, rather than race. As a result, employers will have a larger, more diverse pool of skilled applicants –including those that have previously fallen through the cracks because of implicit bias.
Wayfindr is a 21st-century career platform designed to transform the way we look for jobs, build high performing teams, and plan for future skill needs. With our experience of employers’, educators’, and job-seekers’ collective needs, Wayfindr aligns the interest of each of these critical stakeholders by collecting, interpreting, and delivering higher quality data, all sewn together with a beautiful and efficient interface. Improving outcomes across the board is our goal, and by equipping Job-seekers with the skills that employers indicate a requirement for, through educators that want to demonstrate their efficacy; we believe a transformation of the early stage career market will be the result of our journey. Join us at http://wayfindr.com