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Hiring discrimination against transgender job applicants – considerations when designing a study




This paper discusses the factors to consider when designing studies to measure hiring discrimination against transgender job applicants.

The paper builds on academic literature related to hiring discrimination and transgender employment to build a detailed discussion of the numerous factors and issues inherent in hiring discrimination against transgender job applicants. By isolating and describing a number of relevant considerations, the paper aims to act as a guide for future studies to build upon.

Three types of hiring discrimination studies are discussed: correspondence tests, in-person experiments and student cohort experiments. Three main categories of factors relevant to an experiment’s design are then discussed: the legal context, industry/role factors and transgender population-specific factors. A flow-chart detailing the research design decision-making process is provided.

Research limitations/implications
The discussion within this paper will act as a reference and a guide for researchers seeking to address the dearth of empirical studies in the literature. The list is not exhaustive; while a number of factors relevant to transgender-specific studies are identified, there may be more that could affect an experiment's design.

Hiring discrimination against transgender people has been recorded in many surveys, but there is little empirical measurement of this discrimination. To the author's knowledge, this paper is the first to examine the experimental design decisions related to transgender hiring discrimination. In doing so, it provides contributions for two primary audiences: those researching transgender employment issues but who have never conducted a study measuring hiring discrimination; and those who have previously conducted studies on hiring discrimination, but have not done so with reference to transgender job applicants.


McFadden, C. (2020). Hiring discrimination against transgender job applicants – considerations when designing a study. International Journal of Manpower,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 10, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 22, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 10, 2020
Journal International Journal of Manpower
Print ISSN 0143-7720
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Transgender; LGBT; Field experiments; Audit study; Correspondence study; Experiment design; Hiring discrimination; Resume experiment; Student cohorts
Public URL


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