Imagine a four-person shortlist that has three women and one man on it. With this shortlist, a woman will be hired only 67% of the time.
If you’ve got two women and two men on the shortlist, a woman will be hired 50% of the time – the odds you would expect if people were making hiring decisions purely based on merit.
What chance do you think a woman has of being hired when there’s one woman (against three men) on a four-candidate shortlist?
According to a recent study looking at academic hiring, there’s statistically no chance she’ll be hired.
Many employers are actively trying to recruit more women to senior positions, and are changing the composition of shortlists as a means of doing so. Some large corporates have recently announced that they’re scrapping all-male shortlists and are asking recruiters to find a more diverse range of candidates.
But as the study above suggests, adding just one woman to a shortlist to prevent it from being all-male may not do the trick. This is because the ratio is still sending the implicit message that a man is more appropriate for the job.
Or possible that people see through the inclusion of a token woman on a shortlist?