Ask A Progeek: Demographic Distress

We’re here with Ask a Progeek, and the questions keep coming.  This one is a bit sensitive – and one with exploring.

When applying for a job, there is sometimes a voluntary section about demographic information (where they ask about gender, ethnicity, disabilities, etc).  In practice, is it better to fill that out or leave it blank?

This usually isn’t a concern for us Progeeks, but it’s something that bears thinking about.

Let’s face it, these sections are voluntary.

Let’s face it, these sections feel a bit invasive.

Let’s face it, you kinda wonder if this helps or hurts you.

Let’s face it . . . eh, we’re gonna have to address it.

And here’s how I address it:

Really, I have no idea what this may do or won’t do for a company.  Or a career.  Or an application.  I’ve never heard a reason not to do it.  I’ve never heard what happens.  I really don’t know who cares or anything.

If anything, to me these sections are just a pain because sometimes they have weird options.

So here’s what I do: I fill them out.

I figure it’s this way – this could be bad or good.  It could be ignored or used.  But really I figure why leave things incomplete.  I figure why leave the suspicion I didn’t do things.    I figure why really worry and just be honest.

So really, go on and do it.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at