Students from poor families rarely get hired for elite professional jobs b/c of gatekeeper bias

Rivera’s findings overwhelmingly showed that the playing field for EPS [Elite Professional Services] jobs is skewed in favor of applicants from the most privileged backgrounds. This happens, according to Rivera, not because these organizations intentionally seek to hire the most affluent students. Instead, when searching for the “best and the brightest,” they happen to use a definition of merit that is linked closely to social class, preferring accomplishments, activities, knowledge, and interactional styles that require significant investments of time, money, and energy not only by job applicants but also by their parents. Put more bluntly, aspirants without elite qualifications or connections—or evidence of pedigree—tend to have slim chances of earning an offer. The process results in what Rivera calls “elite reproduction” in our supposedly merit-based society. These findings have implications for the firms and candidates in question, and for society more broadly. [link]


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