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Unemployed face discrimination during job hunt

We've written before about anecdotal evidence that unemployed job candidates experience discrimination. Now, a study confirms that this is a widespread phenomenon, and that unemployed people face discrimination after only one month away from their last job. The research paper says that the difference exists regardless of why someone left their last job or if they were fired or not.

Bias against unemployed job candidates was prevalent among human resources professionals as well as among the general public, suggesting that employees looking for jobs at both large corporations and small businesses may be subject to discrimination.

Study authors asked human resource professionals to look at resumes and score their desirability as a candidate. The resumes were identical except that half advertised candidates who were currently employed while the other half had been out of work for one month. Currently employed candidates were reviewed more positively than their unemployed counterparts.

One group of unemployed applicants that suffered less was those whose previous employer had gone out of business. Study authors said that the perception that they lost their jobs through no fault of their own seemed to receive more sympathy from hiring managers.

Over 5 million people in the United States have been unemployed for at least six months.

For Pittsburgh residents who are coping with long term unemployment, this type of discrimination can be a frustrating setback. However, lawmakers (including President Obama) are taking notice of the issue and some are proposing policy changes that ban discrimination against the unemployed.

Source: Huffington Post, "Unemployed Face Discrimination Just One Month After Losing Their Jobs, Report Says," Arthur Delaney, July 30, 2012.

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