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How ‘male-sounding’ job ads can deter female candidates

Category: Industry News, Male, female

How ‘male-sounding’ job ads can deter female candidates

A study by researchers in Germany has concluded that recruitment ads featuring words associated with stereotypical male traits can put off potential female candidates – which could be a contributory factor to the relative lack of women occupying senior leadership roles.

Over 260 people were shown fictional job ads to assess the impact of wording on their application behaviour. Ads featuring characteristics traditionally associated with males were found to be less appealing to women and therefore discouraged them from applying, although the same wording apparently made no difference to men.

According to the research from Technische Universität München, female candidates for leadership positions were less likely to respond to ads containing words such as ‘aggressive’, ‘analytical’, ‘assertive’, ‘determined’ and ‘independent’. However women found words such as ‘conscientious’, ‘dedicated’, ‘responsible’ and ‘sociable’ more appealing.

This shows the importance of taking care when composing job descriptions and to consider the psychological implications of using certain language to advertise roles. When recruiting for the best talent it is important to use 'gender neutralised' adjectives to attract as wide an audience as possible and therefore to recruit the best talent for your organisation.

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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 [email protected] for more information.

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