38 percent of tech job interviews offered exclusively to men: report

Data shows there's still some way to go toward pay and hiring equity

Employers seeking tech talent are still more likely to interview men for their open roles, according to tech and sales recruiting firm Hired's analysis of how its customers use its platform.

Hired, whose gimmick is that companies effectively apply to interview jobseekers – reversing the usual paradigm – rather than the other way around, reviewed nearly 64,000 job postings and more than 860,000 interactions between candidates and employers between 2018 and 2022. That effort was boiled down into its State of Wage Inequality in the Tech Industry report [PDF] for 2023.

Among the findings of the report are that among tech positions advertised via Hired in 2022, about one in ten resulted in interview requests only being made to to White people. In 2018 that number was 26 percent – so while there's been a drop, it seems there's still a problem.

Graphs from Hired showing a drop in positions only offering interviews to men and White people

Graphs from Hired showing an overall drop in positions only offering interviews to men and White people – Click to enlarge

The document also found that women of Asian and European backgrounds saw a reduction in pay inequality last year. But inequality remains.

Women are also often overlooked on Hired - the the recruitment biz said 38 percent of positions advertised in 2022 only generated interview requests for men. That's a one percentage point increase over 2021, but is still generally an improvement over 2018 – the start of the data in the report – when that number was 45 percent.

Your unconscious biases are showing

Those doing the hiring don't seem to think there's as big an issue as Hired's data suggests. Ninety-nine percent hiring managers who responded to Hired's survey insisted they "make efforts to ensure hiring decisions are free from bias."

According to Hired, its data and survey responses from job seekers and employers indicate biased hiring practices aren't hard to find in more than half the industries hiring professionals through its platform. The report indicates disparities are particularly present in the manufacturing, healthcare and media/entertainment sectors. 

Hired said two particular types of bias, both unconscious, regularly rear their heads in its data: affinity bias (hiring people who are similar to oneself) and confirmation bias (focusing on information about candidates that supports pre-existing beliefs).

Neither of those biases need to be direct, aggressive or even offensive. Hired identified the 68 percent of employers who cite "cultural fit" as a qualification as being particularly susceptible to such biases creeping into hiring.

"Using 'culture fit' is fine if you're talking about core values – like a commitment to innovation, philanthropy, or respecting others," said Hired SVP for people strategy Sam Friedman. Such stances can affect how well a new hire fits into the overall company. But Hired said these habits can just as easily lead to homogeneous workplaces dominated by groupthink.

Hired suggested more emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as one way to address the issues outlined above. That doesn't necessarily mean more unconscious bias training and workshops, though. While 51 percent of hiring managers said their DEI teams are a "must have," 14 percent of those in the same role said such initiatives "create an unfair advantage for some groups."

Never mind the fact that Hired also found 82 percent of job-seeking women and 69 percent of men said they'd be more interested in working for an employer that had received recognition for DEI initiatives.

Previous research cited by Hired found that DEI training didn't change behavior.

With Hired observing that 80 percent of hiring leaders report feeling pressured by employees to reduce hiring and wage bias, now's the perfect time for companies to ensure their names aren't associated with discriminatory hiring practices.

Hired recommends anonymizing resumes – by hiding personal information like name, gender and age – and also recommends structured interviews in which all candidates are asked the same questions.

If technical assessments are part of the interview process, Hired recommends moving to an asynchronous system, which will not only prevent hiring managers from unconsciously imposing bias on candidates, but will also free up their time.

The study also looked at the effects of salary transparency legislation, which Hired said is on the rise around the US. According to the recruitment outfit's findings, states and cities that implemented pay transparency laws all showed wage equality improvement in their regions.

"Now is the time to seize this critical juncture, bridging gaps in opportunities and expectations. Embrace salary transparency and dedicate yourself to DEI principles to forge a path toward a more equitable future … It's the right thing to do," said Hired CEO Josh Brenner. ®

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