Alex, Sam, Terry, Chris, Taylor, Pat, Dana, or Jessie … which one should I go with?
A recent social psychology study conducted at Yale University and recently discussed in the New York Times found that both male and female college science professors across the nation harbored significant gender bias when appreciating accomplishments and hiring young male and female scientists. The study was able to clearly indicate this bias by sending the exact same promising résumé to various science professors and asking them feedback on whether the imaginary “applicant” should be hired as a research coordinator at a University laboratory. The only thing was that half of the resumes had the name “John” and the other half included the name “Jennifer” and this tiny alteration led to quite different responses: “The average starting salary offered to Jennifer was $26,508. To John it was $30,328.” Remember, the only difference between the resumes was their first name… John and Jennifer. Not only the pay was different, but on a scale from 1 (low) to 7 (high) on perceived competence of the applicant, the professors gave “John” a rating of 4 and were more willing to mentor the applicant, compared to “Jennifer” who received a rating of 3.3. This sounds like quite the negative first impression to make, and they haven’t even met you yet!
Doesn’t that make you want to adopt a new gender neutral nickname for your future job applications?