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Report Finds that They/Them Pronouns May Hurt Your Resume

A report conducted by business.com found that 72 percent of non-binary people believe that identifying as non-binary would hurt their job search – and they might be right.

The authors of the study sent two phantom resumes to 180 job postings: both exactly identical, except one included they/them pronouns and one did not. Though most of the companies claimed to be Equal Opportunity Employers, the resume with the pronouns received less interest and fewer interview invitations.

Based on feedback given by hiring managers, resumes with they/them pronouns were eight percent less likely to be deemed a “good fit” for the respective job position. Furthermore, when hiring managers made personal comments about the presence of pronouns in general, they were negative 38 percent of the time. This number rose to 75 percent negative comments when discussing they/them pronouns specifically.

“The pronouns on the resume make me think this person may be a troublemaker and ‘woke’ versus more collaborative,” a hiring manager in the finance and insurance industry said.

“On paper, they seem qualified, but listing pronouns at the top of the resume is unnecessary and rather eye-roll worthy. It makes them come off as unprofessional,” another hiring manager in the healthcare and social assistance field told business.com.

Therefore, it is no surprise that only 36 percent of non-binary employees are completely out in the workplace. 29 percent do not identify as non-binary in the workplace at all, and 35 percent identify selectively.

While there is still work to be done to eliminate bias in the workplace for non-binary employees, there does seem to be some small progress. Last year, resumes with they/them pronouns were deemed seven percent less qualified than those without, but this year all resumes were considered equally qualified for the job listing. The percent of non-binary people who believed their identity would hurt their job search also dropped from 83 percent last year to 72 percent this year.