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Cobert Pushes Feds to Challenge Unconscious Bias in Fed Workforce

Acting Director at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Beth Cobert, recently spoke at OPM’s diversity and inclusion summit urging federal officials to confront unconscious bias in the hiring and promotions process.

“As many of you know, one of the most challenging barriers to diversity and inclusion is unconscious bias,” she said at the summit, which was held at the Coast Guard headquarters. “It’s difficult to grapple with because it is unconscious — not as obvious as calling out someone for using improper language or overtly passing someone over for a promotion. Probably the most unconscious bias exhibited during the hiring process is the ‘like me’ bias. The ‘like me’ bias means leaders and managers typically look to hire or promote people who look like themselves. A white male will select a white male, for example.”

Cobert also cited a study on symphony orchestras where curtains were placed between musicians auditioning for jobs and the selection committees. “As a result, the percentage of women musicians in five of the nation’s leading orchestras jumped from single digits in the 1970s to 21 percent by 1992,” she said.

For more, please read Joe Davidson’s original piece on the issue, Feds urged to fight ‘unconscious bias’ in hiring and promotions.

Posted in General News

Tags: OPM, Government Accountability Office, Beth Cobert, human resources

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