‘Provocative’ study shows hiring bias for college STEM jobs favors women

new study by PNAS regarding women applying for STEM tenure-track positions shocked researchers when it was discovered that, based solely on resume comparisons, women were preferred for tenure-track university jobs 2:1 over male candidates with identical qualifications. This held true among every STEM field in the study — biology, engineering and psychology — with the exception of economics. In that field, there was no inherent gender bias toward either men or women. The study covered 371 universities in the U.S. and 873 faculty members in those selected fields were studied. The study asked participants to review resumes from male and female candidates for tenure-track jobs. The participants were given three resumes and were asked to rank them; two of the resumes had identical qualifications, with gender being the only differentiating factor, while the third resume lacked some of the qualifications of the other two. Of the candidates with similar qualifications, the woman ranked first approximately 67 percent of the time. Similarly, when asked to rate the identically qualified candidates without comparing them to each other, the woman’s resume invariably received higher scores. University of Kansas economics professor Donna Ginther described it as a “provocative study,” though she says that you don’t often see results like it in real-world applications. Rather, a number of factors are considered in hiring a candidate in addition to the application or resume, including the applicant’s interview skills, and therefore hiring in university communities does not tend to reflect this bias. Between 2008 and 2010, studies showed that women received more doctorate degrees than men, though of the available assistant professor positions during that time, women only filled 32 percent of the roles. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lists gender as one of its protected classes, in which it is illegal to make hiring or firing decisions solely based on a person’s gender.]]>

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