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New study on class cues confirms suspicions on workplace diversity

(NEWS) New study evaluates the effects of class, race and gender on job applications.

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It’s best to be a rich, white guy in America. Also, water is wet

Newsflash, you guys: in America, rich men have the most fun, the best jobs, the most money – they’re basically winning, and doing it way more often than any of the rest of us. A new study by the Harvard Business Review reaffirms this unfortunate fact of life, and discusses specific ways in which class cues and gender can effect recruitment decisions.

The field experiment focused on the legal sector, and analyzed data based on four nearly identical (fake) resumes for four (fake) law students. The legal industry can be especially unforgiving to those who fail to emit some sort of elite pheromones.

The way of the world

If you’re at a top law school like Harvard or Yale, the recruiters swarm you. If you’re a top law firm, the students swarm you for internships. If you’re a student without a degree from a top school, or an internship with a top law firm, you’re probably out of luck unless you want to go into an “inferior” area like non-profit work. The legal profession has its own 1 percent, and it always has that new-suit smell.

Basically, if you want the big name and the big bucks, you better get that big internship.

But if you’re a woman or you didn’t grow up in a wealthy household, you probably have to be a whole lot better than everyone around you to even get an interview.

Proof is in the pudding

The Harvard Business Review created four sample resumes, sent out to 316 offices of 147 top law firms in 14 different cities. Each fake candidate attended the same school, earned the same awesome GPA, served on the law review, and listed the same work experiences. Gender was signaled by first name, and class status was signaled by things like awards, extracurriculars, and hobbies: Sailing vs. Track and Field, classical music vs. country music, athletic award vs. athletic award for those on financial aid, peer mentor for first year students vs. peer mentor for first-generation college students.

Unsurprisingly, the resumes bearing male first names and upper class hobbies fared significantly better than all others. In fact, the upper class male candidate received more interview invitations than all other candidates combined.Click To Tweet

Slightly more surprising was the fact that being wealthy didn’t seem to make up for being a woman. The lower class female and male candidates each received more interview invitations than the upper class counterpart, making rich women the least desirable candidates of the four.

Why was having money hurting women’s chances?

The HBR conducted a second experiment to investigate. They sent the same four resumes out to 200 practicing attorneys nationwide, asking each attorney to assess one of the resumes to determine whether they’d like to interview them. They also asked each attorney to rate the candidate on relevant factors based on perception, which are proven to vary between men and women, like competence, likeability, organizational fit, and career commitment.

As before, the upper-class, male candidate was everyone’s favorite. The survey found that attorneys perceived both higher-class candidates as better fits with the (high class) culture and customers of the top firms.

But higher-class women were viewed as less committed to working a demanding job.

That means these attorneys, and 20 more individually interviewed attorneys, believe women are more likely to leave a job for an easier role, or for “family” reasons.

Beating a dead horse. (Not really, chill PETA)

That’s right, you guys. Because women are capable of growing, birthing, and parenting children, their plates are already full, or might, you know, eventually sometime in the future be full enough? And upper class women probably already have enough money, right? So why on earth would they ever choose to pursue a career? Just another example of women behaving illogically, I guess…

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The HBR study ultimately cites intersectionality as an explanation for their findings: “When it comes to understanding sources of advantage and disadvantage, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Like everything else in the labor market, privilege works differently for men and women.

How do we fix it?

Well, if you’re an employer, you can request initials instead of full names, to mitigate gender bias. You can also forgo information like extra-curriculars and hobbies, which have more potential to reveal class cues, though attendance at a top tier university will continue to send those signals.

As a candidate, you can also choose to omit this information on your resume, and to avoid listing awards and honors that might indicate class or background. But for many candidates, that would mean eliminating all or most of their impressive accomplishments. Everything’s a trade off, but if you’re after that 1 percent lifestyle, some tweaks might be worth making.

#SelectiveClassCues

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films - preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Business Marketing

How Nestle’s emotional branding converted a nation into coffee drinkers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Nestle hired a psychoanalyst to convert a nation to coffee with long term, science backed strategies connected to why we like what we like.

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nestle japan coffee

When Nestle first attempted to market coffee in Japan in the 1970s, it did not go well. Though their products tested well with audiences and was priced affordably, sales never took off. Nestle was committed to break into the profitable Japanese market and embarked on research that would inform an innovative new strategy going forward.

Nestle hired French social psychologist, Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, who specialized in the emotional bonds people form with objects. Dr. Rapaille conducted various experiments with participant groups to better understand why people were not buying coffee in the Japanese market. In one such experiment, Dr. Rapaille played calming music while participants lay on the ground. He asked them to talk through early childhood memories. He then asked participants to share experiences and emotions they associated with various products from their childhoods.

Participants did so, except when it came to coffee. Most had no memories of coffee and therefore no emotional bond to it. Japan had long been a tea drinking society, very few sections of society included coffee drinkers. Sales reflected the lack of cultural familiarity with coffee; it was not part of Japanese life. This understanding from Dr. Rapaille’s research sparked a bold marketing move with a long-term strategy in mind.

Nestle created coffee-flavored chocolate and marketed them to children. Introducing the flavor of coffee to Japanese youth while at an early age would not only imprint the flavor profile on them, but they would associate the flavor with positive emotions. Nestle tested, manufactured, and sold their coffee-flavored chocolate in Japan. They were immediately popular with youth and eventually with their curious parents who wanted to give the flavor a try.

A reentry into the coffee market by Nestle years later was met with a different response than the first attempt. The kids that grew up with coffee-flavored candies were now a part of the workforce and ready to become coffee drinkers. Today, Nestle imports nearly 500 million tons of coffee per year.

What began with a failed attempt at entering the coffee market resulted in a long-term strategy that proved that strong emotional bonds with customers can build strong sales.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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work week rush

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and…hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care…that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well…probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.

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Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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