Little is being done to address the tech industry's racial hiring bias, report

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Racial and gender-based inequality in tech recruitment is still a pervasive issue, according to new research.

The State of Wage Inequality report from Hired shows that bias in recruitment and hiring processes is actively harming people of color and women, with only minor progress being made on this front in the last five years. 

While the report highlighted that 99% of hiring leaders say they “make efforts to ensure hiring decisions are free from bias”, additional work is still required to root out long-standing cultural issues. 

Just over half (56%) of hiring managers reported that bias is still present in their workplaces, according to Hired. Gender-based biases are among the most common they see in their organizations, with 17% reporting this as a key issue.

Similarly, 12% reported that racial biases are also a lingering problem, followed by age-based discrimination. 

In particular, Hired said that representation “remains an issue for non-male, non-white individuals".

In 2022, 38% of positions advertised only offered interview opportunities to men. This marks a slight increase from 37% recorded in 2021, the report found.

Affinity and confirmation bias

A key factor in the continued issues reported by HR leaders was that many hiring managers experience “affinity and confirmation bias”, the report said. 


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“Affinity bias occurs when interviewers favor candidates who are similar to themselves,” the report explained. “Confirmation bias leads hiring managers to focus on information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs about a candidate.”

Hired warned that both these issues directly harm individuals applying for jobs that don’t meet preconceived notions or beliefs held by the hiring managers. 

Long-term, this has an adverse effect on workplaces, leading to teams that are “largely homogenous” and lack diversity

Diverse teams deliver results

Eliminating bias in recruitment and hiring processes delivers broader results than merely improving diversity statistics. Companies which prioritize racial and ethnic diversity were 36% more likely to achieve “above average financial returns”, according to a report from McKinsey.

Meri Williams, CTO at Pleo, told ITPro “diverse teams win” and that organizations should place a stronger emphasis on fostering workforce diversity.

“This isn't purely about being fair to those of different genders or races – the more diverse teams are, the more varied an organization’s thinking becomes and the broader the range of solutions they develop,” Meri said. 

“Attracting a diverse workforce begins with an unbiased hiring process. And while it’s essential to ensure talent acquisition is set up right, do not overlook the fact that commitment to inclusion should run beyond the HR team and through the entire company.

“The work doesn’t stop there either and leaders must enable a diverse culture to thrive through an inclusive workplace design.”

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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