- Hiring managers not only differ from job candidates in terms of their perceptions about careers and social mobility, but some also noted the presence of conscious and unconscious bias playing a role in recruiting decisions, according to a recent report published by U.K.-based hiring platform Headstart.
- The firm's survey found 56% of hiring managers thought talent and hard work were the "core drivers" of both career mobility and social mobility, but just over one-third of candidates agreed. In contrast, 53% of candidates thought that background and parents were the core drivers. Headstart surveyed 400 U.S. hiring managers and 400 U.S. job seekers.
- About 15% of hiring manager respondents said age impacted a hiring decision they had made in the past two years, either consciously or unconsciously. Eleven percent said the same of ethnicity and 9% said it of disability. Meanwhile, more than half of job seeker respondents said they felt they were "frequently discriminated against when looking for new roles," Headstart said. That share stood at 66% for Black respondents and 83% of respondents who identified as gender diverse.
Beyond the ethical and moral issues presented by bias in hiring processes, employers may also reckon with financial costs.
A January report published in the Journal of Management by researchers at Oregon State University found that even a 1% gender bias effect on a Fortune 500 company hiring 8,000 workers in one year could result in at least 32 failed hires and poor hiring decisions, as well as productivity losses totaling some $2.8 million annually.
Hiring bias may be founded on characteristics that have nothing to do with a candidate's ethnicity or gender. Research published in 2019 by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business found some respondents in charge of hiring processes had assumptions about candidates who have military experience that negatively impacted such applicants when they applied to roles in which emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills were valued.
In a separate study the same year, Yale University researchers found recruiters favored candidates who appeared to be from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and assigned them higher salaries and sign-on bonuses than other applicants.
On the candidate side, a lack of connections or access to transportation may also impact, for example, students who wish to pursue internship programs.
Stakeholders have identified a number of strategies HR teams can pursue in order to address hiring bias. In an interview last year with HR Dive, Working Mother Media President Subha V. Barry recommended that employers consider restructuring talent pipelines and installing job rotation programs to encourage multicultural women to consider core operation roles. Researchers in a 2020 report suggested partitioning candidate applications into different categories.