NSW nudge unit weighs in on ‘unconscious bias’ concerns

The New South Wales government’s behavioural insights team has weighed in on the growing concern about unconscious bias in recruitment, with a brief guide designed to support public service workforce diversity strategies.

Released on Friday, it looks at the impact of groupthink, confirmation bias, clique behaviour and other cognitive biases that can subconsciously skew decisions on how government agencies select and promote staff.

The premier’s Behavioural Insights Team also suggests the ways agencies advertise could encourage a narrower field of candidates to apply, in the same way the design of various forms and letters can affect how citizens respond to them:

“Like a pipeline, problems at the start will have flow-on effects throughout the process.”

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