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Women are somewhat more inclined to hire gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer job candidates when compared to equally-qualified heterosexual applicants, according to a study headed by the University of Sussex. However, the contrary is true when the recruiter is a male. All else being equal, male recruiters and hiring managers judge perceived heterosexual applicants as more desirable to hire.

One would assume that a recruiter and hiring manager with more experience would not demonstrate prejudice bias. Surprisingly, this prejudice was stronger among people who had considerable experience of assessing resumes/ CVs.

Female recruiters scored homosexual candidates an average of 5.21 and heterosexual candidates 4.8.  Whereas males scored homosexual candidates 4.6 and heterosexual candidates 4.93.

The analysis in the Journal of Business and Psychology is the first to spot a favorable bias for gay and lesbian applicants in the hiring process. This manifests when only females are making the hiring decisions and are the make up the majority of the hiring process from initial resume scanning, through interviews and offers of employment. Since an all-female hiring panel is not common the LGBT job seeker remains at a huge disadvantage based on learned bias. Hiring panels made by groups of both women and men could result in less biased conclusions.

Dr. Ben Everly of Sussex’s School of Business, Management, and Economics, “These results reveal that prejudice against gay men and lesbians is considerably more nuanced than previous work indicates.”

Also, these outcomes can impact if and how gay men and lesbians reveal their homosexual identities on the job.  This can make many feel the need to be in the closet at work.

Across two experiments, around 400 people were randomly shown one of four resumes/CVs: that of a lesbian, a gay male, a straight female or a straight male. The resumes presented where identical in all details, such as professional expertise. The only differences were if it indicated a male or female indicated through the name – Greg Johnson (man) or Jennifer Lewis (female) and secondly for each gender it listed belonging to a professional association. Those were the Los Angeles Gay Business Professionals (LGBT applicants) or Los Angeles Business Professionals (straight applicants). Note there was only one-word difference in those organizations – Gay. During post-experiment screening, some participants that wrongly identified that a candidate’s sexual orientation had been taken out of the research.

The analysis also found signs that women perceived the gay and lesbians applicants to be warm and competent, which these factors affected their hiring choices.

Males, however, considered heterosexual candidates as more capable, which influenced their hiring choices, but revealed no difference in perceived warmth between the four candidates.

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Source: Journal of Business and Psychology

The Journal of Business and Psychology (JBP) is an international outlet for publishing high-quality research designed to advance organizational science and practice. Since its inception in 1986, the journal has published impactful scholarship in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Organizational Behavior, Human Resources Management, Work Psychology, Occupational Psychology, and Vocational Psychology.

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