, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
So that statistic caught my eye. Some background: I worked in technical recruiting, my girlfriend is a SWE, I'd say that about half my closest friends are women SWEs. This statistic was so far off their experiences and mine that I was instantly suspicious. So I dug into it.
The 'study' was conducted by tech recruiting firm 'Speak With a Geek'. It was first covered here: cnet.com/news/when-tech…. It also got coverage a few other places. No one, anywhere, linked to the study. The study does not appear to have been published anywhere.
Speak With a Geek, the recruiting firm cited, no longer has a web page. Their social media accounts are dead and have been for a while. They do not appear to have announced the study on any social media at the time, though they retweet the CNet coverage (and Bustle citing CNet).
The study doesn't seem to exist. You can't read it anywhere. The only info we have is what's in the media. The claim in the CNET article: "five percent selected for interviews were women.... When identifying details were suppressed, that figure jumped to 54 percent."
Presumably that is 54% of those selected for interviews were women.The claim in the NYT now: "54 percent of the women received interview offers; [when gender was shared] only 5 percent of them did." But wait a second....
These are different claims! One is 'five percent of those selected were women', and the other is 'five percent of women were selected'. Minor point, but leaves me more upset that I can't read the original writeup...because it doesn't seem to exist.
Next, this is wildly out of line with my experience of the industry. I know CEOs and hiring teams who have tried gender-blinding to increase fairness. They all stopped, because doing so disadvantaged women. That's right. Women with the same credentials as the men get hired but...
Of course, that does not mean tech is fair! If forces systematically make it harder for women to get each credential - less likely to do a CS class in high school, a CS program in college, less likely to get promoted, less likely to change jobs, likelier to be a primary caretaker
- what results are systematic disparities, and we do have those. Companies are aware of this and most are actively trying to address it - targeting candidates who haven't been 'coding since high school', who took time off to raise kids. Gender-blinding at these cos hurts women.
Because addressing disparities is not actually as simple as taking a word off the top of a resume! There's a lot of money selling diversity, I promise. Companies fight like hell to be at the top of the rankings for diversity. If it were easy, they really would all be doing it.
No other study has found results anywhere near these for gender-blinding in tech. They find complicated results, or small ones, or they find ignoring backgrounds means *ignoring* sources of hardship candidates have faced in their past, and ends up harming women candidates.
So, yeah: here's what I think happened: I think a sleazy recruiting co now out of business did something weird - not speculating as to what - and got numbers totally out of line with reality and all other research in the area. They got a couple writeups from a couple of outlets..
...that were okay with the fact no methodology was public and the details of the study were unclear and that there was no study, or even a blog post by the people who say they did the study, to link to. Then, through some kind of telephone, this ended up in the New York Times.
You. Cannot. Solve. Disparities. In. Tech. By. Taking. Names. Off. Resumes. I don't know what 'Speak With A Geek' did to get their numbers - I can't, since they have never said anywhere - but that's not how it works.
Wrote this up in Vox, also digging into other instances of taking PR numbers from recruiting-firm research that can't be found: vox.com/2019/2/20/1823…
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