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
- lead — includes leader(s)
- analysis — includes analyze and analytical
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
- understand (or understanding)
- collaborate (or collaboration)
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:
- Job advertisements that use masculine wording are less appealing to women. (by Harvard’s Gender Action Portal)
- De-biasing language in job adverts (by Sarah Ronan, HR Magazine)
- Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality (by Danielle Gaucher, Justin Friesen, and Aaron C. Kay, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)
- Gendered Language – Are your job ads turning women away? (by Rob McCormick, Ideal Role)
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.
|Instead of this…||Consider this…|
|7||Congressman||Member of Congress|
|8||Construction Man||Construction Worker|
|12||Doorman||Door Keeper, Door Attendant|
|15||Garbage Man||Trash Collector|
|16||Handyman||Maintenance Person, Fixer|
|18||Mailman||Postal Worker, Letter/Mail Carrier|
|19||Maintenance Man||Janitor, Caretaker|
|21||Pizza Man||Pizza Person|
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:
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
WHY I WROTE THIS?
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!