If you want to attract more female candidates, a good place to start is to eliminate your job description bias.
Job description gender bias is the easiest lever for you to pull to hire more women.
The 80/20 Rule is in effect here. Well, almost.
You can remove about 70% of job description gender bias by changing just 7 of the most commonly used masculine words.
We tasked Ongig’s Text Analyzer job description software to evaluate 647,512 instances of masculine gender bias in job descriptions.
Below are the top 7 masculine gender-biased words Text Analyzer found. Most of these gender bias examples are what folks call “implicit bias” (or “unconscious bias”).
In other words, your recruiter or hiring manager writing the JD didn’t mean to turn off female candidates. They just inadvertently use words that repel some women.
Fixes are easy.
I’ve listed the 7 top masculine gender-biased words in order of the frequency Ongig found they occur in job postings. I also include the frequency they occur on Indeed job postings for comparison.
And for each of the 7 offenders, I list a couple of the best gender bias-free synonyms to use instead.
For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out our How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.
Gender Bias Word #1: “Strong”
# of jobs on Indeed.com that contain this: 1,562,836
The word “strong” is a common adjective in job descriptions. Many of you use it to describe skills/qualities you’re looking for:
“strong written skills”
Here are gender bias-free synonyms to use in place of “strong”.
Gender Bias Word #2: “Drive”
# of jobs on Indeed.com that contain this: 911,365
The word “drive” is often used in job descriptions as a power verb to describe movement employers want to see a candidate make. Examples:
“Drive end-to-end processes…”
“Drive recruitment and resources…”
It’s also used a noun to describe the quality employers want in a hire:
“You have a competitive drive…”
Here are gender bias-free words to swap in for “drive”:
- energy, motor (in the case of nouns)
Gender Bias Word #3: “Lead”
# of jobs on Indeed.com that contain this: 957,235
“Lead” is used by many of you to describe managing or running something. Examples:
“Lead status review”
Lead is also used in other instances like:
Gender Bias-free words to use instead are:
Gender Bias Word #4: “Analysis”
# of jobs on Indeed.com that contain this: 448,169
“Analysis” is used in myriad ways:
“Make recommendations based on detailed analysis”
“Provide qualitative analysis”
“Conduct data analysis”
Here are some gender bias-free words to swap in:
Gender Bias Word #5: “Individuals”
# of jobs on Indeed.com that contain this: 1,568,407
“Individuals” is often used in job descriptions as a synonym for candidates/employees such as:
“We offer growth potential for motivated individuals”
“We are looking for talented, hard-working individuals”
“[Name of Employer] seeks individuals who will thrive…”
Here are a couple of gender bias-free words to use instead:
- Team members
Masculine Bias Word #6: “Decisions”
Occurrences on Indeed.com: 754,219
“Decisions” is a favorite adjective used in job descriptions. Examples include:
- “We are a team where data drives our decisions”
- “Ability to make decisions quickly”
- “You are the driver of business decisions”
You might swap in these gender bias-free words instead:
Gender Bias Word #7: “Competitive”
Occurrences on Indeed.com: 951,167
“Competitive” is often used to describe compensation you offer or the quality of candidate you’re looking for. Examples include:
- “We offer competitive pay and bonus plan”
- “Come experience a high-energy, competitive environment”
- “You are a competitive person who plays to win”
Some gender bias-free words to use instead:
If you enjoyed this article, you might check out these 4 Diversity tools to write more inclusive content.