Study finds hiring manager bias


Despite many organisations’ aspirations to achieve more gender balance in the workplace, both male and female hiring managers are more likely to recruit a man when making a final decision. 

These are the findings of a study carried out by recruitment company Hays in conjunction with diversity and employee survey organisation, Insync Surveys.

The study asked 1,029 hiring managers to review two resumes, one of a man, one of a woman, and answer a series of questions about each candidate’s attributes, skills and probability of an interview. The results highlighted some interesting results around affinity and gender biases.

It found that despite reviewing the resume for two candidates with identical skills and experience, hiring managers possess an affinity bias – that being a preference to more highly rate someone most like them. Female respondents who received the CV of “Susan” said she matched 14 of the 20 attributes extremely well. In comparison, female respondents who received the CV of “Simon” said he matched just six of the 20 attributes extremely well.

Male hiring managers demonstrated bias too. Men rated the male candidate more highly than the female, with “Simon” matching 14 of the 20 attributes extremely well and “Susan” only six.

However, despite the fact that affinity bias affected the perceptions of decision makers, it is actually gender bias that affects the overall outcome. The study found that both genders were significantly more likely to interview and hire the male candidate, illustrating the “think leader, think male” bias comes into play for both male and female recruiting managers.

The full report can be found here.