A trial program, supervised by a Harvard academic, intended to increase the number of females hired into managerial positions has been “paused”:
In a bid to eliminate sexism, thousands of public servants have been told to pick recruits who have had all mention of their gender and ethnic background stripped from their CVs.
The assumption behind the trial is that management will hire more women when they can only consider the professional merits of candidates.
Their choices have been monitored by behavioural economists in the Prime Minister’s department — colloquially known as “the nudge unit”.
Professor Michael Hiscox, a Harvard academic who oversaw the trial, said he was shocked by the results and has urged caution.
“We anticipated this would have a positive impact on diversity — making it more likely that female candidates and those from ethnic minorities are selected for the shortlist,” he said.
“We found the opposite, that de-identifying candidates reduced the likelihood of women being selected for the shortlist.”
Adding a gender-identifying factor actually worked in women’s favour:
The trial found assigning a male name to a candidate made them 3.2 per cent less likely to get a job interview.
Adding a woman’s name to a CV made the candidate 2.9 per cent more likely to get a foot in the door.
The seemingly fair blind hiring process must, of course, be rethought because it didn’t produce the desired unfair results.