A recent piece of research by Linked In looked at the gender language challenge. This is closely related to another diversity challenge - unconscious bias. The reality is that men and women use and respond to different words in different ways and that in the process of writing both job descriptions and job postings very little thought is put into the use of certain words and by default the language can often encourage men more often than not to apply for a role and put women off. This is more likely to occur the more senior the role. When organisations are lauding their desire to be more diverse and inclusive it is surprising that this is the case.
As a recruitment communications organisation it is incumbent upon us to lead the charge and review what we write to get the mix of wording balanced to attract all applicants in equal manner.
The research showed the differences in how men and women respond to certain words, as well as the language they use to describe themselves in the hiring process. For instance 52% of UK female workers would be put off a role if the workplace environment was described as ‘aggressive’ - compared to 32% of men. LinkedIn highlighted that over 50,000 job descriptions on LinkedIn currently include the word ‘aggressive’. LinkedIn also found that 40% of UK talent professionals never consider gender when writing job adverts, and 44% do not track or measure which gender their job posts are appealing to. Only 48% of UK talent professionals get training in inclusive language and unconscious bias.