Unconscious bias

Combating unconscious bias helps promote equity and fairness in decision-making.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious or ‘hidden’ bias refers to attitudes and patterns of perceptions that are held subconsciously and can be very ingrained. We all have them. Not dissimilar to stereotyping, these automatic associations can lead to assumptions that are not always accurate, and can have a detrimental impact in decision-making.

Unconscious bias influences thoughts and actions that can result in the creation of unfair advantages or disadvantages without the decision-maker’s awareness.

Unconscious bias can be about someone’s ethnicity, gender, age, accent, sexual orienation, parental status, just to name a few. It unwittingly permeates workplaces, affecting decision-making processes, including recruitment, promotion, development and access to other opportunities.

Ultimately, when judgements and decisions are influenced by implicit biases, they can result in unfair and negative consequences for those who are subjects of this bias, and potentially result in discrimination.

Tips to tackle unconscious bias