Women filtered out by Swedish recruiters

A tip for women looking for jobs in Sweden: you will have a better chance of reaching the interview stage if you conceal your identity.

That is the conclusion of new research at Uppsala University, which shows that employers are still discriminating against women.

“Our study is the strongest evidence so far that recruiters consciously filter out women when they are taking on new staff,” said Jonas Lagerström, a researcher at the Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation, to the paper Upsala Nya Tidning.

The study was based upon information provided by 8,000 men and women who applied for jobs via the Swedish Labour Board’s online database. Of those, 992 chose to leave their name and gender off the application form.

In general, the research shows then men were contacted by recruiters more often than women. But only in a small number of cases could that be explained by the fact that the men had better qualifications.

“That confirms what we already knew. Everything masculine is valued more highly than everything feminine in the labour market. You just have to look at how we financially value what women do compared to what men do. Just the fact of being a man is a plus,” said Magnus Jacobson, press officer at the Equality Ombudsman’s office, to TT.

Even when men and women had exactly the same qualifications, such as education and work experience, men had a 20% higher chance of being contacted by an employer.

But that difference disappeared among those who chose not to reveal their name or gender when they applied for jobs. When the recruiter could only see the qualifications, women had precisely the same chance as men.

Employers are legally bound to aim for an equal gender balance in the workplace, but that makes little difference, according to Magnus Jacobson, since discrimination is largely subconscious.

“I believe and hope that there are very few employers who consciously sit there filtering out female applicants,” he said.

“The research could possibly be an indication that anonymous applications could be the way to go.”

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