Even AI Knows the Workforce is Biased Against Women

By Holly Brockwell on at

AI is great for doing all the tasks humans don't want to, and it's just proved that by reading a huge number of UK websites to gather data on employment practices.

In news that won't surprise women one tiny bit, the AI found huge disparities between the numbers of men and women in different industries and job roles, with women being almost entirely shut out of the top jobs.

The main findings of the study – conducted by Glass AI and published by the Royal Statistical Society – were:

  • 85% of investment bankers are male
  • 82% of all CEOs are male
  • 92% of chairpeople are male
  • 73% of directors are male
  • Civil Engineering, oil and gas are 80% male
  • Veterinary science is 78% female
  • Around 95% of receptionists, legal secretaries and care assistants are female
  • Primary and secondary education is 71% female
  • Creative industries such as media, music, internet and photography are heavily male-biased

And the big one:

Despite the numbers of women and men found on the sites being almost exactly half-and-half, and despite the genders being almost equally as likely to participate in the workforce, of 108 economic sectors examined, 87% were biased towards men.


Data Scientist Ana-Maria Huluba, who ran the study, comments:

"It is well known that there is a male bias in the board room, what has not been appreciated is the sheer scale of bias across ordinary jobs, and the level of gender segregation between sectors”

What makes the study even more interesting is that men and women actually appear in almost equal numbers on the web in total, with 51% male, and 49% female – which matches the ONS numbers for gender in the workplace. And yet beneath this we get this massive segregation of roles and appearance in different economic sectors. This is a complex pattern that is supportive [of] and yet goes beyond traditional stereotypes."

The AI crawler read 200 million sites using the .UK top-level domain, in both the private and public sector.

You can read the full report here. We're off to look at some kittens to cheer ourselves up.

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash