Last week, the BBC released research that the wording of job adverts can put women off applying. Here, Alex Christen, our gender pay gap expert, looks at how employers can attract a diverse workforce.
One of the main issues facing employers with a large gender pay gap is a lack of female staff – both overall, and in more senior positions.
And, judging by the BBC article, lots of this is down to recruitment, promotion, and perception – both women’s, men’s, organisationally, and socially – preventing women from taking up jobs in certain industries, and of certain seniorities.
Research has shown that the specific wording used in job adverts could be one of the reasons behind a lack of female applicants. Using words like ‘manage’ or ‘lead’ have been shown to attract more male applicants, whereas phrases like ‘develop’ increase female interest in a role.
So, one way for employers to attract more female candidates could be tweaking the wording they use in their job adverts. In theory, employing more women will, in turn, help to reduce a gender pay gap.
But, this isn’t enough on its own – and it certainly won’t solve pay inequality.
Employers should look at their recruitment and retention strategies as a whole, to see if there are any other factors that might be dissuading women from joining them or moving up the career path within their organisation.
Other key areas to look and – and improve – are often flexible working practices, family friendly benefits, and the support employers give returning mothers in the workplace.
Finding the right talent is what matters. Making job adverts as inclusive and attractive to a diverse range of candidates is a good first step towards achieving that.
Words matter. And the way we use them in job adverts can dictate whether or not people bother to apply. This is a big problem if you're a business trying to recruit more women and ethnic minorities into your workforce. So can tech help remove these unconscious biases? A job description that uses the phrase "We're looking for someone to manage a team" may seem innocuous enough. But research, based on an analysis of hundreds of millions of job ads, has shown that the word "manage" encourages more men than women to apply for the role. Changing the word to "develop" would make it more female-friendly, says Kieran Snyder, chief executive of Seattle-based Textio, an "augmented writing software" company.