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Women perceived to be LGBTI are 30% less likely to be called for job interview

Women perceived to be LGBTI are 30% less likely to be called for job interview

Researcher Emma Mishel

A new US study has concluded that LGBT women are 30% less likely to be called back for interview when applying for admin and clerical jobs.

Researcher Emma Mishel, a doctoral student in the sociology program at New York University, applied for 800 open administrative, clerical, and secretarial positions across four states/districts (New York, Virginia, Tennessee, and Washington DC) using two fictional resumes.

Applications were made via five different job websites: CareerBuilder, Idealist, Craigslist, the Washington Post, and Monster.

One resume mentioned that the applicant had been a secretary for her college’s student LGBT organization. The other resume said that the applicant had been a secretary for a different, progressive organization at college. The resumes were otherwise similar but not identical.

They were sent out within two days of each other, and Mishel randomized which resumes were sent out first.

She found that LGBT female applicants – or those perceived to be LGBT because of with the LGBT ‘signal’ on their resume – received about 30% less callbacks than the straight female applicants.

In total, 14% of resumes sent out resulted in a callback. However, broken down across the two types of resume, this equated as 17% of resumes without LGBT references, and only 12% of resumes that mentioned the college LGBT society.

Although acknowledging the study had its limitations (such as only looking at the clerical/admin sector, not identifying the reasons for possible discrimination), Mishel concluded that her study ‘revealed significant discrimination against queer women who apply to jobs in the United States.’

The full paper can be read here.

In a statement to Gay Star Business, Mishel said she had been surprised by the results: ‘The large penalty that I found against the perceived queer women is pretty shocking.

‘Another result that surprised me was that the discrimination rate remained about the same regardless of whether the job came from a liberal or conservative state, and regardless of whether that state held a relevant anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT people in the workplace.’

Responding to the survey, Deena Fidas, head of HRC Foundation‘s Workplace Equality Program told Gay Star Business, ‘Unfortunately even with tremendous progress at the policy and benefits level across employers, everyday bias against the LGBT community persists.

‘In HRC’s own studies we find that a little over half of all LGBT workers stay closeted for fear of negative repercussions on their careers. This recent study validates the notion that our work is far from done … hiring managers need to be trained to mitigate bias against prospective employees.’