Is Social Media Driving Gender Discrimination?

Wednesday 23 March 2016
New Research Reveals Recruiters Judge Female Applicants on Looks Rather Than Content When Appraising Social Media Profiles.
Leaders sitting round table watching presenter online

New research reveals recruiters judge female applicants on looks rather than content when appraising social media profiles.

The growth in the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media accounts has seen many hiring managers use the platforms as part of their recruitment drive, accessing candidates online profiles and making judgements on them before even meeting face-to-face.

While this may provide extra background on a candidate, it can also exacerbate negative gender bias against female job applicants.

According to findings by University of the West of Scotland researchers, managers who choose to snoop on applicants’ social media profiles, particularly Facebook, are likely to enforce certain biases against female candidates, particularly their physical appearance, potentially distracting from the quality of their application and distorting the true suitability for job roles.

When analysing the eye movement of a group of 70 men and women, who were told to review a selection of Facebook profiles and to judge each person as a potential candidate for a job, the research team found that both male and female participants judged the female candidates primarily on the basis of their appearance, while they tended to form an opinion about the male candidates based on the content on their profile page.

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