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Many of us are talking about gender-neutral job descriptions these days. But how about gender-neutral job TITLES?

Take a look at job boards and news articles and you’ll find that many common job titles still use the word “man” in them.

Search Indeed for “salesman” and you’ll find 277 job openings with that title.

A total of 1,140 jobs on Indeed mention “salesman” somewhere in the job description.

BYU English professor Delys Snyder says these “man”-titles could gender-bias people at a very young age:

“When children hear a job title that has a…m-a-n ending, and you ask them to draw pictures or talk about who’s doing that job, they will pick the one that matches the gender of the word.” source: Sexist Job Titles and the Influence of Language on Gender Sterotypes

Here’s a list of 25 everyday job titles that might benefit from gender-neutralization. We suggest an alternative gender-neutral title for each.

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 is not going to happen overnight. I know some of the “consider this” alternative titles above are more clumsy to say.

But some employers are already taking action on gender-neutral job titles. Check out “The Marine Corps is making 19 job titles gender neutral”. And gender neutral job titles is such a popular topic that it’s already got its own Wikipedia entry (“Gender marking in titles”).

Note: Thank you to writinghelp-central for many of the gender-neutral job title suggestions. 

I wrote this article about gender neutral job titles because I’m CEO of Ongig, the recruiting platform that boosts quality candidate applications including diversity. Ongig optimizes your diversity recruiting through job description text analysis, job description rewriting, video, branding and much more.

ps: Before I hit “publish” on this, the WordPress blog platform I’m using to write this recommended I replace “salesman” with “sales rep” — how cool is that! Progress!

Rob Kelly

Co-Founder and CEO at Ongig
Ongig transforms your job descriptions to attract the best talent faster. Ongig is a content management system that supercharges your job descriptions through video, images, pictures, chat, social sharing, microsite creation and much more. Jobs can be more easily found through Artificial Intelligence-based job search and all pages are Mobile and SEO optimized. Ongig's professional copywriting team will even rewrite your job descriptions. Early clients of Ongig include Yelp, GoDaddy, Verizon, Intel andAutodesk.

by in Gender Neutral Recruitment