In a recent blog post, Perth management consultant Kim O’Grady talked about how a simple tweak of his resume to indicate his gender helped him to get a job after four months of rejections.
“My first name is Kim. Technically it’s gender neutral but my experience showed that most people’s default setting in the absence of any other clues is to assume Kim is a women’s name. And nothing else on my CV identified me as male. At first I thought I was being a little paranoid but engineering, trades, sales and management were all definitely male dominated industries. So I pictured all the managers I had over the years and, forming an amalgam of them in my mind, I read through the document as I imagined they would have. It was like being hit on the head with a big sheet of unbreakable glass ceiling.”
This post has since gone viral, being shared on major news websites and attracting over 2000 shares and comments.
I’m not surprised that Kim experienced this on his job search.
As I sat with women in the Executive Women’s Business Female Leaders program recently, we were all dismayed to hear a member report on her experiences of the first stage of a graduate selection process for a major NSW public sector agency.
Working alongside two male colleagues, she was surprised to see that they had almost finished their allocation of applications and were heading out to lunch, while she was only 20% through hers.
Looking into this further and questioning her colleagues, she found that they were culling applications on the basis of the schools the applicant attended – public school graduates were eliminated in the first round! Whether this is conscious or unconscious bias, the outcome is the same.
Clearly, the boys club starts at a very early age!