Hiring decisions are often fairly opaque to job applicants and many employers do not provide a reason for turning a particular applicant down. Without comprehensive studies, it can be difficult to detect biases or discrimination in the hiring process, but it may play a role more often than we think.
A new study has surveyed 1,200 men in the United States and the United Kingdom who were in management roles. The study author reported that men with wives who did not work seemed to constitute a “pocket of resistance to the gender revolution in the workplace.” The experiment asked male managers to evaluate two different job candidates with identical qualifications and experience, one named David and one named Diane. Married managers with wives who stayed at home overwhelmingly selected David, while manager with wives who worked outside the home split their decision equally among the two candidates.
It is probably not the case that men with wives that work inside the home are actively discriminating against their female employees, but the fact that they have partners that choose a traditional role may speak to a particular set of values that manifests itself at work. The study author wrote that the men were “basing their decisions on unconscious biases they didn’t realize they had.”
Although not everyone would agree with the conclusion of the researchers, the study does bring up interesting points about the different factors that can influence hiring and promotional decisions. Many Minnesota employees would agree that getting along with a boss on a personal level and sharing similar values can be an advantage at work. It stands to reason that one’s personal experiences being similar can add to that sense of camaraderie which may in turn help with a promotion.
What do you think – have you seen unconscious bias play a role in hiring or promoting at your workplace?
Source: CNN Money, “Women: Want a promotion? Find a boss whose wife has a career,” Anne Fisher, August 1, 2012.