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CNBC

If you’re the only woman or minority in a job pool, forget about getting hired, study says

Study also finds there are more CEOs for large US companies named 'David' than there are female CEOs

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 12:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 1:49pm

If a pool of four candidates for a job includes only one woman, her chances for getting that job are statistically zero, according to new study.

And it's the same case for minorities, according to the authors involved in the study which was published in the Harvard Business Review.

However, the business management magazine added that if one more woman is added to the running, or one more minority, then the likelihood for a woman or minority being considered for a job jumps up more than 50 percent.

"When there is only one woman, she does not stand a chance of being hired, but that changes dramatically when there is more than one. Each added woman in the pool does not increase the probability of hiring a woman, however — the difference between having one and two women seems to be what matters," said the Harvard Business Review.

According to the study, authored by Stefanie Johnson, David Hekman and Elsa Chan at the University of Colorado, this behavior is attributed to people tending to follow the status quo, as "change is uncomfortable."

"We can use bias in favor of the status quo to actually change the status quo … when we created a new status quo among the finalist candidates by adding just one more woman or minority candidate, the decision makers actually considered hiring a woman or minority candidate," said the authors of the research.

The Harvard Business Review study also concluded that there are more CEOs of large U.S. companies named David (4.5 per cent) than there are CEOs who are women (4.1 per cent), yet surprisingly, John, not David, is the most common first name (5.3 per cent) among CEOs.