Gender Representation and the Adoption of Hiring Algorithms: Evidence from MBA Students and Executives

56 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2023 Last revised: 30 Sep 2023

Date Written: February 22, 2023

Abstract

We examine how job performance and diversity considerations shape recommendations for adopting algorithms in hiring. Between 2019 and 2022, around 400 business managers and executives coded up and evaluated algorithms aimed at improving hiring at a firm. Although these algorithms would lead to large performance improvements for most, participants were unlikely to recommend adoption. Instead, their adoption recommendations were strongly shaped by the demographic impacts of the algorithm, particularly in regard to gender. Algorithms that decreased the number of female hires were half as likely to be adopted as those that had no impact or increased it. These results hold while controlling for the algorithm’s impact on job performance, and are not present for two other protected classes, age and country of origin. We rule out that this behavior was driven by fear of illegal discrimination. Instead, we provide causal evidence that even marginal decreases in the number of female hires lead participants to reject hiring algorithms. We conclude by discussing the implications of these results for our understanding of the use of algorithms in hiring, and algorithmic aversion more generally.

Keywords: hiring algorithms, algorithmic aversion, gender, algorithmic decision-making, people analytics

JEL Classification: M5, J7, M15

Suggested Citation

Perkowski, Patryk and Scofield, Cristina, Gender Representation and the Adoption of Hiring Algorithms: Evidence from MBA Students and Executives (February 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4367113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4367113

Patryk Perkowski (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University ( email )

500 West 185th Street
New York, NY 10033
United States

Cristina Scofield

Fordham University ( email )

113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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