Leontien Rutenfrans

Marketing Manager Textmetrics
June 15, 2021

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Diversity and inclusion and biased language

In recent years, diversity and inclusion has become the top priority for a growing number of companies. If we take a look at the benefits of a diverse workforce, the reason for this becomes clear. Diversity and inclusion is essential to be successful. Companies that manage to be diverse and inclusive generate a higher profit compared to companies with a less diverse workforce. In addition, employee satisfaction and a company’s reputation is also positively influenced by more diversity and inclusion

The advantages are clear, but we know that making a diverse and inclusive workforce a top priority is easier said than done. Companies set themselves ambitious goals but often struggle to reach them. Why is that?

Diversity and inclusion and the impact of biased language

The biggest obstacle for more diversity and inclusion seems to be biased language in job descriptions. This means that your job descriptions contain words and phrases that exclude people based on their age, sex, race, ethnicity, social class, or physical or mental traits.And excluding groups of people is exactly want you don’t want to do when you want a more diverse and inclusive workforce. 

A bias is a prejudice toward or an unfair characterization of the members of a particular group. It is so common in speech and writing that most of the time, you won’t even realize you’re using biased language. Words and phrases like mankind, a man’s achievements, the common man, person of color, little old lady, elderly people and immature adolescent are all examples of biased language that you may have used in the past. It shows how difficult it is to exclude it from your writing.

How to avoid biased language 

One way to avoid biased language in your job descriptions is to use inclusive language. If you follow the rules for inclusive writing below, you can eliminate biased language and make sure that your job descriptions contribute to more diversity and inclusion.

  • Clearly write down the requirements for the candidate.
  • Identify the correct pull factors—or in other words, identify what will persuade the applicant to apply.
  • Make sure that there is always a correct diversity statement in the job description.
  • Prevent age discrimination.
  • Make sure your job descriptions are understandable and not too complex.
  • Apply the WCAG guidelines.
  • Don’t use forbidden words.
  • Use professional terms that apply to both sexes, such as nurse and teacher.
  • Speak directly to the reader. 
  • Avoid stereotypes and combinations or associations.  Using pink for women and blue for men is a good example of this.

Diversity and inclusion by innovation 

Another way to avoid biased language in your job descriptions is through the use of innovative technology. At Textmetrics, we make this available to you. Our augmented writing platform uses algorithms based on artificial intelligence to help you write inclusive job descriptions free of any biased language. Job descriptions that appeal to a diverse group of candidates and greatly help you reach your ambitious diversity and inclusion goals.

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