All companies, and probably yours too, want to have gender diversity. But for some reason, we all struggle with that. Ever heard of the Gender Confidence Gap?
In this blog, we will explain to you what this is and why this results in females having a lower chance of being hired in your company.
The Gender Confidence Gap: A quick introduction
As human beings, we tend to be more attracted to a higher level of confidence in a hiring setting. Some might take confidence as a key indicator of goal achievement and career success. That is, the more confident a person is, the more competent we think they are and the more successful they will be in the future. One of the ongoing arguments is that women may have a lower tendency to self-promote.
This is called the Gender Confidence Gap. This means that in the hiring process, women are more likely to underestimate themselves, while men are more likely to overestimate themselves.
Now, the two most commonly used techniques by companies when hiring are hard skill tests and interviews. Sadly, these are also the two techniques that lower the chance of females being hired. Here’s why.
Hard skill tests
”I probably won’t be selected, so what’s in it for me to continue the procedure.”
When applying for a job, the chance of females dropping out is higher than the chance that males drop out, especially when it comes to hard skill tests such as engineering or computer programming.
Why? Because females have a sense of failure much quicker. On top of that – hard skill tests are more stress-inducing as they focus primarily on assessing ‘experienced” skills.
To back it up, female candidates tend to give up on hard skill tests slightly more often than male candidates, with an 11% drop-off rate among females candidates vs. 9% among males.
On top of that, hard skill tests also lead to a performance gap – female candidates tend to score lower overall, while male candidates have a 1-3% higher score compared to female candidates. This performance gap is caused by a feeling of potential failure that females have more easily and more often than males candidates.
“What we often hear from companies is that women tend to score lower and drop off more quickly.”
Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder & CEO at Equalture
This is not surprising, given that we live in a world where gender stereotypes still persist and where women continue to be underrepresented in many industries…
”What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
This is a question that is oftentimes asked during a job interview. The intentions might be fair, but the outcome most likely won’t be. Why? Because how your applicant answers may depend on their gender. When being interviewed for a job, females will most likely underpromote themselves, whereas men will overpromote themselves.
In reality, the reason so many women do not assert themselves in the interview process is not that they lack confidence in their competence, skills or ideas, but instead that they are trying to avoid the “backlash effect”—the social consequence of asserting or promoting themselves.
If a woman walks into an interview with an assertive and bold attitude, she risks being disliked or in the worst possible case scenario – and let’s be blunt here – being labelled too bossy or overly confident.
What to do instead
Times are changing, and you need to change with them – interviews and hard skill tests might have been the way to assess candidates in the 1950s, but they simply won’t cut it anymore.
Bridging the gender confidence gap: Soft-Skill tests
It is clear that the gender confidence gap is a serious issue facing hiring managers and interviewers today. However, there is a way to begin bridging this gap and that is through soft skill tests. Soft skills tests are a tool that can easily be integrated into an hiring process setting.
By gaining insight into an individual’s cognition, behaviour and personality, these tests can be a small but extremely effective way of closing the gender confidence gap and helping companies expand their recruiting reach to women who may have never considered applying for a position powered by soft skills assessments.
To investigate whether this actually stands true, we used data from our own game-based assessments to see if women responded better to these tests. Here’s what we found out.
Research Equalture: Impact of soft-skill tests on dropoff females
At Equalture (a game-based assessment company, measuring cognition and behaviour), we have analysed the data of 7.222 job applicants who have all started Equalture’s game-based assessments between December 2021 and August 2022:
- 3.289 applicants have indicated their gender to be female;
- 3.933 applicants have indicated their gender to be male.
Some surprising results:
Don’t get me wrong – I am not saying you should eliminate interviews from the hiring process. What you should eliminate ASAP is your high dependency on interviews. It is still likely that females will undersell themselves more, but when having insights into their soft skills prior to the interview, this not only provides you with a nice starting point, but also with an objective and equal overview of the talents of both your male and female candidates.
I am a big fan of objectifying hiring through data, as that massively reduces the impact of unconscious bias in the hiring process.
I have to make a confession here though – I might be a bit biased in saying this, as objectifying hiring is exactly what we do at Equalture…