Gender Bias

Gender bias is the tendency to prefer one gender over another, which is influenced by our Stereotyping Bias.

Pre-screening, screening, post-screening

What is gender bias?

Gender bias in recruitment is the inclination to favour a candidate due to gender prejudice. It’s a huge issue in hiring and can sadly affect all stages of the recruitment process. If the right precautions are not put into place, employers and hiring teams are at risk of discrimination and gender inequality. 

Alpha bias and Beta bias

Perhaps you’re familiar with the two types of Gender bias: the opposing tendencies known as Alpha bias and Beta bias. 

What is alpha bias?

The term ‘Alpha’ originates from the Greek letter ‘A’. In psychology, Alpha bias refers to the tendency to exaggerate gender differences. Overemphasising these differences could result in devaluing one gender over another, leading to stereotyping and discrimination. An example is attributing a specific trait as adherent to the whole female population, disregarding individual differences within the group. 

What is beta bias?

The term ‘Beta’ represents the Greek letter ‘B’. Beta bias involves downplaying gender differences, assuming that certain behaviours are universally applicable across genders. Often, this tendency treats male experiences as standard, a phenomenon known as androcentrism. Unique experiences of another gender are consequently disregarded, resulting in overlooking gender-specific issues.

Examples in the hiring process

Gender bias often occurs in the hiring process. In an interview, women are more likely than men to be asked about children and childcare responsibilities. However, candidates should not feel the pressure to answer questions such as ‘when are you planning on starting a family?” even if the question is disguised in the interview as friendly conversation.

Alpha bias occurs when recruiters consider males to be more assertive, which is why they could be preferred for managerial positions. An example of Beta bias, on the other hand, is not taking into account physical gender differences. When conducting physical tests, it’s unfair to assume that men and women are physically identical and should therefore be assessed on identical criteria.


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