Female job seekers are less likely to be shown adverts on Google for highly paid jobs than their male equivalent, research has found.
Following the controversy that Google algorithms can be a little bit racist, research has shown that Google algorithms can be sexist as well.
Research from Carnegie Mellon University, titled Automated Experiments on Ad Privacy Settings, found that women are less likely to see ads for high paying jobs then men.
The researcher built an automated testing rig called AdFisher that pretended to be a series of male and female job seekers. AdFisher conducted 21 experiments using 17,370 fake profiles that collected over 600,000 ads from job seeking sites.
It found Google displayed adverts for a career coaching service for “$200k+” executive jobs 1,852 times to the male group and only 318 times to the female group.
The authors of the study wrote: “In particular, we found that males were shown ads encouraging the seeking of coaching services for high paying jobs more than females.”
The study concluded: “We cannot claim that Google has violated its policies. In fact, we consider it more likely that Google has lost control over its massive, automated advertising system. Even without advertisers placing inappropriate bids, large-scale machine learning can behave in unexpected ways.”
The researchers have plans to extend AdFisher to advertising systems on Facebook, Gmail and Bing.
Click here for the research.