Even before the turmoil and job loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study reports that qualified Black women were up to 58% less likely to be hired for a government job than white men.
According to reporter Charlene Rhinehart of Black Enterprise, the 2021 Diversity in Public Sector Hiring Report looked at data from GovermentJobs.com, which analyzed over 17 million applications submitted in the U.S. between 2018 and 2019 and showed numerous problems and disparities occurring throughout the recruitment and hiring process.
Looking at available government jobs that officials were attempting to fill, Rhinehart reported that “although 28% of applications are sourced from Black candidates, only 18% of Black people are actually hired into the public sector. This means that Black candidates have to continuously apply at high rates in order to maintain their representation in the workplace,” she said. “On the other hand, white candidates are always hired above their application percentage.”
While the study showed disappointing data on the number of Black women who made it to the interview stage, Rhinehart reported the numbers were even more stark earlier in the recruitment process, with qualified Black women being nearly 40% less likely to be called for an interview than their white male counterparts.
“The Diversity Report identifies inequities throughout the recruitment process by ethnicity, race and gender,” she said. “Based on the data, it is clear that government agencies need to do more to create equitable hiring practices.”
Among the recommendations offered in the report that may help federal offices to decrease hiring biases in the public sector:
- * Hiding personally identifiable information on applications, which could lead to more equitable hiring decisions
- * Removing personal job applicant information, such as name, race, address, school and email address so recruiters can focus solely on experience
When these small changes are implemented, the study’s authors said Black women were 26% more likely to receive an interview.
“Instead of personal identifiers, companies could [also] use a scoring rubric to help reduce unconscious bias,” Rhinehart reported, saying that “Black female candidates were 21% more likely to be hired when there were scoring standards in place.”
“A standardized scoring method with explanations for each score has proven to be a better way to assess applicants,” she said.