Employers looking to avoid gender discrimination should consider several candidates for a promotion rather than evaluating employees on an individual basis, a new study by researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School found.
Researchers incorporated 654 female and male participants in the study, using 100 as employees and the rest as employers. The researchers asked the employees to complete math and verbal tests and then the employers chose which candidates would go on to the second round of tests.
The researchers found that, when asked to choose candidates individually, participants were more likely to pick men for math tasks and women for verbal tasks. When considering candidates side-by-side, participants were more likely to pick the right person.
The study also found that when considering employees side-by-side, the “employers” chose bad candidates only 8 percent of the time–compared to 51 percent when evaluating candidates individually.