New research: Gender diversity - why aren't we getting it right?

October 2014

Gender Diversity EBC

Insync Surveys partnered with Hays to explore potential gender bias at the very start of the employee life cycle: the way hiring decisions are made.

We designed our survey to investigate the potential for unconscious gender bias in the recruitment process. We presented participants with a hypothetical CV for a Sales Manager position. Participants were asked to review the CV and answer a series of questions about the candidate's attributes and technical skills matching with the job advertisement criteria. Participants were then asked to decide whether they would interview and/or hire the candidate.

Key findings

The bigger the business the bigger the bias

  • 62 per cent of respondents from organisations with over 500 staff said it was extremely probable that they would interview 'Simon'; 56 per cent would interview 'Susan'.
  • In organisations with less than 500 staff this interview bias almost disappears.

More recruitment experience means more bias

  • Survey respondents who hire more than 20 people a year were more likely to interview 'Simon' over 'Susan' (65 per cent versus 51 per cent).
  • For hiring managers who recruited less regularly, the gap between 'Susan' and 'Simon' reduced to just 3 per cent.

We prefer candidates just like us - but still hire more men

  • Female respondents said 'Susan' matched 14 of the 20 attributes needed for the job extremely well, but 'Simon' only matched 6 of the 20 attributes extremely well.
  • Men said 'Simon' matched 14 of the 20 attributes extremely well, but 'Susan' matched only 6 of the 20 attributes extremely well.
  • Despite this, both genders were significantly more likely to interview and hire 'Simon' rather than 'Susan'.

Public and not-for-profit bias towards women

  • 31 per cent of public and not-for-profit respondents said 'Simon' had the leadership skills to do the job, compared to 42 per cent in the private sector.
  • Public and not-for-profit sector respondents were also more likely to see 'Susan' rather than 'Simon' as having the technical skills (36 per cent versus 30 per cent) and leadership skills (39 per cent versus 31 per cent) to perform the role.

Organisations are still not serious (enough) about gender diversity  

  • 56 per cent of hiring managers said plans and resources need to be put in place or improved to help achieve gender diversity in their organisation.
  • 44 per cent said their CEO is not serious enough about achieving gender diversity in their organisation.
  • 39 per cent said their senior executives need to be better role models of diversity and inclusiveness.
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