I analyze 1000’s of job postings (for bias and readability) and find loads of gender coded words. They affect how candidates view your brand and decision to apply…or not. Here’s a list of 20 gender coded words I find the most.

A list of gender coded words

Masculine coded words in your job postings might keep women from applying. These are the 10 most used across many industries according to Ongig’s Text Analyzer:

Top 10 masculine gender coded words used in JDs

  1. strong
  2. lead — includes leader(s)
  3. analysis — includes analyze and analytical
  4. individual(s)
  5. decisions(s)
  6. driven
  7. competitive
  8. expert
  9. objectives
  10. principles

Feminine coded words are good to use if you want to attract more women candidates. Here are 10 of the most used in job postings:

Top 10 feminine gender coded words found in JDs

  1. support
  2. share
  3. responsible
  4. understand (or understanding)
  5. together
  6. committed
  7. interpersonal
  8. feel
  9. collaborate (or collaboration)
  10. connect

Research on gender coded words

If you are looking for more data on these and other gender coded words, here are a few links you might like:

Gender coded words in job titles

Masculine coded words also creep their way into job titles. Especially job titles with the word “man” in them.

Here’s a list of Gender-Neutral Suggestions for the Top 25 Job Titles That Still Use the Word “Man”:

Instead of this…Consider this…
4CameramanCamera Operator
5ChairmanChair, Chairperson
6ClergymanMinister, Pastor
7CongressmanMember of Congress
8Construction ManConstruction Worker
9CouncilmanCouncil Member
11CrewmanCrew Member
12DoormanDoor Keeper, Door Attendant
14ForemanSupervisor, Boss
15Garbage ManTrash Collector
16HandymanMaintenance Person, Fixer
18MailmanPostal Worker, Letter/Mail Carrier
19Maintenance ManJanitor, Caretaker
20PatrolmanPolice Officer
21Pizza ManPizza Person
22PolicemanPolice Officer

Changing “man”-titles isn’t going to happen overnight, but I am seeing a shift in many of them.

Flagging gender coded words in your job ads

How do you flag masculine and feminine coded words? I suggest using a job description text analyzer. Did you know:

Job ads with gender-neutral language result in 67.75% more applications at a cost that is 68.5% less per application in comparison to job ads that use a combination of female and male coded words. 

Source: Diversity Recruiting: A Guide to Best Practice Language Usage (Appcast study of 473,742 jobs from August 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020)

Ongig’s Text Analyzer, (and other similar tools) flag gender coded words and offer replacements without gender bias. The example below shows a pop-up with gender neutral words to replace “strong” (a masculine coded word):


There’s also a tooltip with best practices for making the JD more gender-neutral:

  • have 50-70% feminine language if you are trying to attract more women
  • have 50% masculine/feminine coded words if you want to attract more men or gender non-binary candidates


Ongig is on a mission to transform job descriptions. If you want to remove gender coded words from your JDs, please reach out to us about Text Analyzer. We’re happy to show you if your jobs have too many masculine coded words!

by in Diversity and Inclusion