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Diversity gets a serious boost if you tell jobseekers this one thing

24 Apr 2018

New research has found that female candidates are more likely to apply for a position when they know how many have already applied.

Telling jobseekers how many other people have applied for a job on LinkedIn could boost diversity, new research published by an academic at Tufts University has found.

The research, entitled ‘The More You Know: Information Effects on Job Application Rates in a Large Field Experiment’ was published in Management Science by economist Dr Laura Gee. It found that female candidates were more likely to apply for positions if the current number of applicants was advertised, which Gee suggests could “ameliorate the gender occupation gap”.

Gee’s findings were predicated on an experiment ran by LinkedIn over the course of 16 days in 2012. Gee analysed the anonymised dataset, which represented 2.3m registered users in 235 countries, and determined that telling jobseekers how many other people had applied for a position increased the likelihood that they would apply, by anything from 1.9pc to 3.6pc. Within the context of this research, it represented a potential 1,500 extra applications.

In addition to an increase in the number of women applying, the number of women who applied for ‘masculine jobs’ (advertised positions for which more than 80pc of those who started or completed an application were male) increased as well.

“Firms often talk about their desires to hire more diverse workforces, especially more women, to decrease the gender occupation gap,” said Gee, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University.

“Adding this small bit of information helps companies attract more applicants, which could increase the number of applicants from more diverse backgrounds. That could help a company begin to close diversity gaps.”

Diversity was recently deemed a top priority for recruiters and HR professionals. The benefits of having a more diverse workforce have been emphasised time and time again, with commentators arguing that doing so will encourage innovation and improve a company’s bottom line.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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