Hiring Bias: Managers Prefer Candidates From Top Schools, Indeed Study Reveals

Top school degrees get you hired, but don’t factor into workplace performance reviews

In another example of workplace bias, managers who graduated from top-ranked colleges prefer to hire graduates from similar schools, according to a new survey from Indeed, the world’s number one job site. Thirty-seven percent of managers who self-identified coming from a top school said they like to hire candidates from top institutions only, versus just 6% of managers who did not go to a top school.

Conversely, 41% of managers who did not graduate from a top college find experience more important than the degree, versus just 11% of managers who said they went to a top school.

“It’s a worrisome trend that a manager’s personal experience and background has such an influence on hiring decisions,” said Paul D’Arcy, SVP at Indeed. “This type of bias can prevent companies from finding the diverse talent needed for their organizations to grow and thrive.”

The study revealed that the bias towards top college graduates is most pronounced among managers hiring entry-level positions and executive roles, but when it comes to actual workplace performance, managers rank other attributes – such as working well with others (75%), strategic thinking (71%)  and self-direction (66%) – much higher as indicative of top workplace performance than a prestigious college diploma. Only 35% of managers agreed that top performers generally come from top schools.

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“The fact managers don’t feel that top performers come from top schools shows that we need to pay more attention to hiring practices,” said D’Arcy. “It is often an unconscious bias that leads managers to hire people with similar backgrounds, but that means many talented and qualified candidates are being overlooked.”

Indeed surveyed 500 senior level and executive managers with a least four direct reports who have managed their team for a minimum of one year. Only managers who required a college degree for employment were included. Learn more about the study here.

 

Paul Wolfe is SVP of human resources at Indeed, the world’s No. 1 job site. He oversees all global human resource functions, including talent acquisition, employee retention, compensation, benefits, and employee development.

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