Recent research indicates that hiring managers at companies prefer candidates with corporate experience to those who have worked for themselves.
The field experiment, which was conducted over the course of two years by researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the University of Vienna, and the Munich School of Management, was based on 100 pairs of resumes sent to real job openings in human resources in the U.K. The resume pairs were nearly identical, except for one thing: the most recent post on one resume was a corporate job, while the most recent post on the other was an independent consulting gig.
Self-employed workers received 63 percent fewer bites than the candidates with corporate jobs. The Wall Street Journal notes that those numbers were worse for men than for women. While researchers declined to offer reasons for the disparity, we could hypothesize that companies are getting used to seeing independent work situations on women’s CVs. After all, if you can’t get maternity leave or a flexible schedule, working for yourself might be the only way to achieve any work-life balance.
Bias against entrepreneurs could be the reason for hiring managers’ disinclination to give the self-employed a chance, according to lead author Philipp Koellinger, an associate professor of economics and entrepreneurship at Erasmus University.
“[Entrepreneurs] may be very able and productive managers themselves, as long as they don’t have a boss,” says Koellinger. “Employers may attach that stereotype to everyone who was self-employed.”
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