Empowering the Freelance Economy

Secret study reveals male applicants face discrimination in female-dominated roles

A new study has revealed that male gender stereotyping is a growing problem in the job application process, yet rarely talked about.
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A new study in the journal Plos One has revealed that male gender stereotyping is a growing problem in the job application process, yet rarely talked about.

Researchers from two universities created over 3,000 faux applications and sent them to employers in Sweden. They found no bias when women’s CVs were put forward for jobs such as truck drivers, IT developers and mechanics. But when they submitted men’s profiles for roles in childcare, cleaning, nursing and preschool teaching, those applications were much less likely to progress to the next round of hiring.

These findings raise a valuable point for hiring companies and recruitment consultants hiring contractors: how can you take steps to reduce gender bias in the hiring process? And what can you do to help male candidates secure jobs in traditionally female industries?

Judging candidates on their CV alone

For one thing, the business cost of gender inequality is a market driver to change tactics, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report that revealed that closing the gap would add more than £9 billion to the economy.

For recruiters and hiring companies, striving for genderless recruitment makes both moral and mathematical sense. It liberates them to find the best person for the job. The success of that appointment encourages clients and freelancers to use you more in future.

But how do you increase gender equality in the hiring process? It starts by ensuring that candidates are judged on the strength of their CV, and nothing else.

One simple way to avoid bias is to remove people’s names from their resumé, along with any other details that may identify them as male or female.

Your business can also work proactively within industries that are traditionally considered more suitable to one gender, to break down stereotypes. There are lots of initiatives in place already: WomeninTech is an inclusive digital networking platform, for example. CEO and Co-Founder, Caroline Ramade, launched it with the aim of ensuring that half the technology workforce are women by 2050.

Tackling unconscious bias head-on

Opening the lines of communication is another way in which to promote equality. Many individuals and organisations don’t realise they are favouring one gender over another – but unconscious bias can still be incredibly damaging.

Recruiters will be wise to talk to their clients about the type of candidates they look for, and the professional qualities they prioritise. Do they tend to see them as strengths that women or men are naturally better at? Gently challenge their recruitment values and processes, by helping them to see the financial and skills benefits of employing someone who doesn’t fit into their existing template.

It’s often a useful exercise for recruiters and freelancers to analyse the diversity of employees within a clients’ workforce, to understand the current ratio of women to men. You can contrast this with their recruitment data – is it because most applications come from one gender? Or is it that they have a track record of hiring women over men, and vice versa?

Hiring companies and recruiters can work with candidates to show them why being the gender minority in a certain field is a positive attribute. Having the confidence to acknowledge that they aren’t a ‘typical’ hire can help them to stand out at interview. Companies who are aware that they’re stuck in the same recruitment habits are more likely to take a fresh perspective.


Article Source: ETZ.

ETZ works with recruitment agencies across the UK and Australia to reduce the time and effort they spend on back office tasks, so they can focus on the bigger industry issues that they’re really passionate about.

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