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Is Your Job Description Gender Biased?

Category: Blogger's Corner, culture, gender, female, organisation, success factor

Is Your Job Description Gender Biased?

The quality of a job description can dramatically impact the quality and quantity of candidates it attracts. This point is pulled sharply into focus when you consider candidate scarcity is the number 1 hiring challenge for in-house teams and recruitment firms (Source: The 2016 Candidate Attraction Report for more details).

Job descriptions provide an insight to the role, the organisation and the culture- so it’s vitally important that they are geared to attract the right candidates.

But have you ever given any thought to the psychology of your job descriptions? Academic research has shown that job descriptions can be unknowingly gender coded, which can deter female candidates.

Based on this research we created Check My Job- a free job description checking tool, which can analyse the gender bias of your job description. Check My Job also analyses your job description against other critical success factors.

Since its launch, hundreds of recruiters have used Check My Job to test their job descriptions. Based on this data, we can now begin to form a picture the quality of job descriptions in the UK.

Here are the findings:

What is the most common gender bias?

76% of job ads are feminine or neutral in tone compared to 24% masculine. This is great news for those looking to attract a diverse range of candidates. Based on the academic research, feminine or neutrally coded job descriptions tend to attract both male and female candidates.

However, for recruiters, this means that 1 in 4 ads could be providing a barrier to application for female candidates.

Most commonly used Masculine words

The most commonly used masculine word is ‘lead’. Phrases like ‘head-up’, ‘direct’ and ‘supervise’ could be used as synonyms in order to make the ads more gender neutral.

Most commonly used feminine words

Do job descriptions include an Equal Ops statement?

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that 98% of job descriptions do not include an equal opportunities statement. While equal opportunity statements are not mandatory in the UK, most legal bodies see them as being best practice.

Examples of equal opportunity statements are found here:

http://www.human-resource-solutions.co.uk/HR-Policy-Pages/Equality/Equality_Policy.htm

http://www.nidos.org.uk/sites/default/files/Equal_Opportunities_Policy.pdf

Average length of job description

Job board Appcast.io believe that descriptions between 2000-10,000 characters achieve a click to apply rate of around 7%. However, the study notes that job descriptions between 4000 and 5000 characters can achieve a click to apply rate of 15%.

The average Check My Job submission is just 2532 characters. While this length of job description will likely receive a click to apply rate of around 7%, it is far below the optimal length.

By including more detail in their job description, recruiters could expect to achieve a click to apply rate of around 15%- optimising their return on investment.

VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email info@vercida.com for more information.

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, please click here for more information.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email info@vercida.com for more information.

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