What are the top masculine-biased words used in job descriptions?

Knowing if you have masculine vs. feminine job descriptions is a hot topic these days. Most companies want to hire more women.

This week, I used Ongig’s Text Analyzer software (the tool for gender bias in job descriptions) to find out.

I had Text Analyzer review 48,246 random job descriptions from U.S.-based companies of all sizes.

Note: Text Analyzer has a proprietary masculine vocabulary library culled from social science and artificial intelligence research that flags masculine and feminine words like those shown below. 

lead-in_to_gender_neutral_replacement_words

 

Top 10 Masculine Words Used in Job Descriptions [2022 Update]

Things change, including the words we use. So we decided to do another review (this time with 400,000+ job descriptions) to find the 10 most used masculine words in 2022. We also added some gender-neutral alternative recommendations:

Here’s the lineup:

  1. strong (able, proven, exceptional, sound, steady, excellent, solid)
  2. lead (drive, head, run, chief, manage, steer, guide)
  3. independently (alone, exclusively, unaided, unsupervised)
  4. objectives (targets, goals, aims, intentions, purposes)
  5. tackles (takes on, embraces, handles, addresses, manages)
  6. assert (express, affirm, uphold, profess, state, put forward)
  7. analysis (investigation, study, test, testing, research, data)
  8. competence — includes competency
  9. decisions (choices, conclusions, judgments, moves, outcomes, steps, actions)
  10. driven (passionate, inspired, energized, motivated, spirited, guided, fueled, oriented)

You’ll notice some of the same “manly words” made the list again in 2022. Plus there are a few new ones in the lineup.

 

Top 10 Masculine Words Used in Job Descriptions [in 2021]

  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

Let me be very clear here. There are numerous women who are “strong” and great “leaders” and don’t need any softening of job description language. But, as a marketing cohort, there is data proving that women as a group will apply to jobs at a lower rate when certain masculine words are in the job posting (see the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology which published a research study called Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality by Danielle Gaucher, Justin Friesen, and Aaron C. Kay

 

Gender-Neutral Alternatives for the Top 10 Masculine Words in Job Descriptions [2021]

Ongig’s Text Analyzer also includes gender-neutral synonym recommendations so I’ve included those in parentheses below.

  1. strong (able, proven, exceptional, sound, steady, excellent, solid)
  2. lead (head, top person, manager, run, head up, manage, steer, grow, pioneer)
  3. analysis (investigation, study, test, testing, research, data)
  4. individuals (people, team members, applicants)
  5. decisions (choices, conclusions, judgments, moves, outcomes, steps, actions)
  6. driven (passionate, inspired, energized, motivated, spirited, guided, fueled, oriented)
  7. competitive (attractive, fair, results-oriented, enthusiastic, comparative)
  8. expert (professional, pro, experienced, adept, skilled, trained)
  9. objectives (priorities, targets, goals, aims, intentions, purposes)
  10. principles (values, beliefs, rules, benefits, ideas, practices, morals, ideals, standards)

Try using the gender-neutral synonyms above for your job descriptions. That’ll go a long way towards eliminating masculine job descriptions/bias.

And if you want to automate this process, Ongig flags masculine words in real-time and gives you a pop-up with gender-neutral synonyms, so you can easily click and replace.

For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out our How to Write a Job Description — Best Practices & Examples.

 

Why I wrote this?

Ongig is on a mission to transform job descriptions. If you want to remove gender bias in your job descriptions, and are hiring at least 100 people per year, please reach out to us about Text Analyzer. We’re happy to show you other masculine job description examples. Just click the demo request button on this page or email us at friends@ongig.com. Thanks!

by in Writing Job Descriptions

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