Gendered language in job adverts

Gendered language in job adverts

According to HR review a recent study has shown that the use of masculine gendered language in job adverts can result in up to a 10% reduction in the number of female applicants. 

The study placed gendered language in job adverts on a scale of ‘strongly feminine’ to ‘strongly masculine’. Apparently masculine connotations include words such as words “leading”, “analytical” “challenging”, “driven” and “individual” which were seen in 85 per cent of adverts.  Words such as “support”, “understanding” and “depend” are categorised as feminine.

Personally I am unsure how far I agree with these categorisations but what is noteworthy is that the study found that 85% of the gendered language in job adverts studied used ‘masculine language’ and only 44% of the applicants were female.  If an advert used ‘feminine’ or ‘neutral’ words, the proportion of female applicants had the potential to increase up to 54%.  Further, if a job advert used feminine or neutral language, this was likely not only to result in a woman being more likely to apply for the job but she was more likely to be offered it.

Unconscious bias is a concept that employers are becoming more aware of. Many recognise the need to address it. ACAS has helpful guidance and if you are unsure one of our experts is always happy to have an initial no obligation chat.

This blog was brought to you by Tess Barrett, solicitor at didlaw