Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Study Confirms Homophobia in the Job Market

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...Image via WikipediaIt's hard enough to find a job these days without some homophobic prick in HR tossing your resume in the shredder at the slightest hint that you, as an applicant, might be just a little bit gay. Trust me. I submitted dozens of resumes for months and not one of them responded until I landed the job I'm currently in training for.

The problem is that when you don't hear from a potential employer, you never know why. Were you unqualified, over qualified or did your timing just suck? Was it ageism, sexism, racism, homophobia or was the asshole in HR just in a pissy mood that day?

A recent Harvard University study shows that when a resume or cover letter mentions a membership in an LGBT organization, the applicant is a lot less likely to get an interview. Pink News Reports:
(Editor's note: The "CVs" referred to in the article are just the British word for resumes.)

The research found that CVs which indicate an applicant is gay are 40 per cent less likely to be granted an interview than those which do not.
Harvard University researcher Andras Tilcsik sent two realistic but fictitious CVs to 1,700 white collar job openings, such as managerial positions.
One CV mentioned relevant experience in a university gay society as a treasurer, while the other listed experience in the ‘Progressive and Socialist Alliance’. Both were
Mr Tilcsik said that since employers are likely to associate both groups with left-leaning political views, this would separate any ‘gay penalty’ from the effects of political discrimination.
The results showed that applicants without the gay reference had an 11.5 per cent chance of being called for an interview. However, CVs which mentioned the gay society had only a 7.2 per cent chance. The difference amounted to a 40 per cent higher chance of the heterosexual applicant getting a call.
The study found that states in the South and Midwest – Florida, Ohio and Texas – had the largest differences in callback rates. However, minimal differences were found for Western and North-Eastern states such as California, Nevada, Pennsylvania and New York.
Mr Tilcsik said: “The results indicate that gay men encounter significant barriers in the hiring process because, at the initial point of contact, employers more readily disqualify openly gay applicants than equally qualified heterosexual applicants.”
The research also found that employers seeking stereotypically heterosexual male traits were more likely to discriminate against gay men.

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