The whole sector has been criticised many times for gender inequality and bias in interviews, but is this really the case or are there other factors at work?
A new research project has indicated that there is no predetermined bias against female candidates; instead, they significantly underperform throughout the interview process and could learn a thing or two from male applicants.
To prove the bias – or lack of – the feminist-organised research project used voice-changing technology. This technology allowed interviewees to hide their gender and to be judged purely on their communication skills and ability to do the job for which they were being interviewed.
During the experiment, candidates logged on to their online profile and were matched with prospective interviewers. They then entered into a series of practice rounds with their potential employers. The organiser of the research project, interviewing.io, changed the male candidates’ voices to female voices and female candidates’ voices to male voices.
The results shocked the organiser, which created the project based on the hypothesis that the tech industry purposely discriminates against female candidates. This hypothesis was proven wrong. The results were clear that women were still not successful even when their voice was masked and they were clearly underperforming in comparison to their male counterparts.
Male candidates interviewed in the tech industry are advancing 1.4 times more frequently than women on average. Men also score an interview rating of three out of four stars, whereas most women score a measly 2.5 stars.
In a shocking discovery, masking the candidates’ voices had no effect on their performance. The male candidates who were disguised as female interviewees still outperformed the real female candidates, predominantly as a result of their technical skills.
If anything, the research project highlighted how the tech industry favours female candidates if they can demonstrate a good level of technical ability.
The report also indicated that women give up too easily during the interview process, with many stepping down from an opportunity if they felt the first interview had gone badly. It is unclear as to why they step down, but this could be due to fear of rejection or a lack of confidence to continue. With men displaying an ability to dust themselves off and try again, there are more male candidates from which potential employers can choose than female candidates.
It could be argued after these findings that there is no gender gap in technology, as women either simply can’t be bothered to display their skills or give up at the first sign of trouble. This attribute is not desirable in any employee, especially in a growing and demanding industry.
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