Hiring managers don’t like you as much if you have a long commute

Employers are biased against future employees with a long commute, which inadvertently leads to systemic discrimination.

Your address on your resume may reveal more about you than you want it to. Hiring managers are biased against people who live further away from the job site, an upcoming study has found.

This is especially a problem for low-wage jobs and the people who need them. In an upcoming study, David Phillips, and Associate Research Professor at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities at the University of Notre Dame. Phillips revealed in the Harvard Business Review that he sent 226 resumes from fictional people to low-wage jobs in the Washington, D.C. area. Applicants livings in distant neighborhoods received positive responses from the jobs less frequently than those living near the job sites.

“In fact, applicants who lived 5-6 miles farther from the job received about one-third fewer callbacks,” he wrote. “The size of this penalty is similar to the penalty for signaling race with a black-indicating name …  like Jamal or Lakisha.”

However, when he presented employers with two different resumes with the candidates made to look as equal as possible – except commute distance – employers still preferred the candidates with the shorter commute.

Regardless, employee preference for workers with shorter commutes affects disadvantaged communities. Black people in Washington D.C. already live one more mile further away from low-wage jobs than white people, according to census data. Gentrification has often driven black workers further to edges of cities.

Phillips suggests several alternatives to these workers becoming “trapped in their neighborhoods.” Buses, not unlike the type used for Silicon Valley tech workers, for example. Ride-sharing services have proven useful in more rural areas.

In some cases, employers have brought in social services to help workers mitigate the types of instability, including transportation problems, that leads to employee loss.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.