Have you noticed the increase of attention on gender-neutral language? Recently, it seems more people are aware of the importance of non-sexist language or inclusive language. All terms that gender-neutral language covers. When using gender-neutral language, you avoid words that can be interpreted as biased or discriminative. And all individuals will feel spoken to when they read your content. It helps you with preventing gender bias.
Job descriptions, for example, often have a more male tone of voice. The words used appeal more to men. As a result, women feel less motivated to apply. That’s not the way to go if you’re striving for more gender equality. You need gender-neutral language if you want to eliminate gender bias. And if you want to reach the diversity and inclusion goals you’ve set.
And there are more reasons why gender-neutral language is important. We have listed three of them below.
#1. Shows your commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI)
As we mentioned above, you’ve probably set yourself diversity, equality and inclusion goals. Sure, this is a way to show that you’re committed to inclusion. And that you strive for a diverse and inclusive workforce. But goals alone don’t really prove anything. Especially if you haven’t reached them yet.
Using gender-neutral language in your communications is a very visible way of showing your commitment to DEI. It’s important to prevent gender bias. Use it in your job descriptions to attract both male and female candidates. But don’t stop there. If you really are committed, you use gender-neutral language in all your written communications. Showing everyone—customers, candidates and employees—that gender equality really matters to you.
#2. It promotes social change
Language both reflects and shapes how we experience the world. Think of the words policemen, chairmen and councilmen. Women might think that only men can do these jobs. And men might feel they can’t be a flight attendant when companies advertise for a stewardess. Therefore, using more gender-neutral job titles also promotes social change. Obviously this process takes time. But eventually, the belief that people working for the police can only be men, for example, will fade.
#3. Attract and retain customers and employees
Customers and employees place more value on DEI than ever before. Customers prefer to do business with diverse and inclusive companies. And employees want to work at companies where they will experience inclusion and belonging. Increasingly, candidates first research a company to find out how diverse and inclusive they are.
To show how gender diverse you are, you can publish data on your workforce. Do you employ as many women as you do men? And are women represented in management roles? It’s more effective, though, to use gender-neutral language in your communications to show how gender diverse you are. It further demonstrates your commitment to inclusion. You need to use gender-neutral language in all your written communications.
Gender bias – examples of gender-neutral language
It’s clear how important the use of gender-neutral language is. And we’ve already mentioned the policemen, chairmen and councilmen. But what are gender-neutral alternatives for these words? We have listed a few examples below:
- Policeman – Police officer
- Chairman – Chair
- Fireman – Firefighter
- Sir – To whom it may concern
- He – He or she
- Freshman – First-year student
- Mankind – Humanity
- Clergymen – Clergy
Also, be aware of using expressions that reinforce gender stereotypes. So, avoid phrases like ‘she runs like a girl’ or ‘men don’t understand’. The same goes for stereotypes and combinations or associations. Using pink for women and blue for men is a good example of this.
The Textmetrics platform: your help with preventing gender bias
Switching to solely gender-neutral language can take time. And it does require some effort. There is a lot you need to pay attention to when writing. The Textmetrics platform makes it all a lot easier. It analyzes your content and gives you suggestions for a more gender-neutral tone of voice. And it also gives you options for words that appeal to both men and women. And when we look at job descriptions. You end up with job ads that appeal to both men and women. Thus, you have access to a diverse group of candidates. It’s the way to reach your diversity and inclusion goals.
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Your job descriptions need to be viewed by as many potential candidates as possible. You want the very best candidates to apply. Including people of different backgrounds, genders and ages. That is the only way to become a more diverse company. But how do you bring your job posting to the attention of the masses? SEO—or search engine optimization—is the answer. Using SEO in your job descriptions makes them easy to find in search engines like Google and Bing. And contrary to what you might think, it’s really not that difficult to optimize your job postings for SEO.
3 steps for SEO in job descriptions
Optimizing your job descriptions for SEO is as easy as following the three steps below.
1. Keyword research
SEO always begins with keyword research. For job ads, you need to find out what job titles candidates in your target group search for. That’s your keyword and the one you need to use in your job description. Even if it means that you have to change the current job title.
2. Use your keyword throughout the job description
You need to use the keyword you found in step one in the most important places in your job description. These are the URL, the page title and the meta description. And you need to use it a few times throughout the job ad. Important places are the first paragraph and one header.
3. Optimize for mobile
A lot of people use their mobile to search for jobs online. So, you need to optimize your job postings for mobile. Your job ads need to function correctly on a small screen. People need to be able to read the text and view the images. And it would be great if they could upload their application from their phone.
SEO in job descriptions and Textmetrics
The Textmetrics platform is really step four in optimizing your job descriptions. It’s a SEO tool to optimize your job ads for SEO. The platform has a special recruitment module for SEO in job descriptions for this. You can also use it to write job descriptions that don’t exclude anyone, but include the right job motivators. And job ads that are perfect for Google for Jobs. You’ll end up with job descriptions that are easy to find online. Just what you need to attract a diverse group of talented candidates.
An augmented writing platform is a very useful technology for recruitment. Especially when there are ambitious diversity and inclusion goals you need to reach. Why is that? An augmented writing platform can help you write job descriptions. Job descriptions that appeal to everyone in your target group. You could describe an augmented writing platform as a technology that serves as a writing coach. Kind of like a virtual assistant for writing job descriptions.
The platform can, for example, give you suggestions for using more inclusive, neutral language in your job descriptions. As a result, your job posts are not only aimed at men but also at women. And they don’t exclude people of a certain age. Other things the platform can give you suggestions on are the tone of voice. And the difficulty of the words you use. By doing so, one of the major problems faced by recruitment is solved. We’ll tell you all about that below.
The problems augmented writing platforms can solve
Convincing a large group of skilled candidates to apply is probably the most challenging part of your job. But you do need to reach as many people as possible. Because that’s the only way to achieve your diversity and inclusion goals. Below, we’ll list a few reasons why it’s so hard to reach your whole target group.
- Many job descriptions have a more masculine tone of voice (gender bias). As a result, women in your target group are hard to reach.
- Most job ads use too much jargon.
- A lot of job descriptions exclude people of a certain age (age bias). It’s usually older people who don’t feel spoken to.
How can an augmented writing platform help you here?
Using an augmented writing platforms in recruitment
Artificial intelligence is the technology behind augmented writing platforms. An augmented writing platform certainly does not replace you as a writer. It simply assists in the process of writing better job descriptions. It’s your personal writing assistant.
Without it, you’ll never reach as many people in your target group as possible. If you reach 40% now, then you could reach 80% with the use of an augmented writing platform. You can benefit even more from the platform if you combine it with writing training. It’s the best way to raise the quality of your job descriptions from good to excellent.
At Textmetrics, we offer an augmented writing platform you can use to write better job descriptions. Your job post will have a more gender-neutral tone of voice and will use less jargon. We’d love to tell you more about how this can make a difference to your recruitment process!
Do you generally receive more applications from men than women? Then your job descriptions probably appeal to men more. Chances are, they contain words and sentences that are gender-charged. The use of more masculine words in job descriptions is very common. These are words that are often used by men. And less used by women. In fact, gender bias is one of the most common biases in recruitment. And that’s a problem. Because if you want an inclusive and diverse workforce, you need to reach both men and women.
How to avoid gender bias in your job descriptions?
- Use gender-neutral job titles
Keep your job titles simple. Using neutral descriptive titles like “engineer,” “developer” or “project manager” appeals to both men and women. While popular titles like “guru,” “hacker” and “superhero’ mostly just appeal to men. Women will not read your job descriptions with these titles.
- Use “you” and “your” instead of “he” or “she”
In writing, you mostly use ‘he.” It’s better to prevent the use of this masculine pronoun. You can do so by using “he or she.” But it would be even better to use “you” and “your.” That way, you don’t just appeal to both men and women. You also write in a more direct and appealing tone of voice.
- Avoid the use of more masculine words
Words you often see in job descriptions are:
The first two are masculine words. The last two are more feminine. It’s best to avoid all of these words. Instead, you should opt for more gender-neutral words. Words that men and women can both identify with.
- Avoid listing too many requirements
A long list of requirements might scare off women. Contrary to men, women only apply when they meet 100% of the requirements. Men apply when they meet around 60% of them. So it’s best to only list the must-have requirements. To encourage more women to apply, it’s best to leave out the nice-to-have requirements.
How Textmetrics can help you avoid gender bias
Do you want to receive more applications from women? Then you’re in need of the Textmetrics platform. The platform can help with avoiding gender bias. Just like the tips above do. But it requires less effort than implementing the tips yourself. You’ll end up with bias-free job descriptions. That have a more gender-neutral tone of voice and appeal to men and women alike.
Curious to know more? Then get in touch. We’re here to help!
Did you know that a lot of people have difficulty reading? And have you considered what this means for you? More specifically, for the written communication you publish? It may be more troublesome than you think. Research in England has shown that 1 out of 8 job ads are too difficult for most people to understand. And when people don’t understand something, they don’t read it. Since it’s difficult to find qualified candidates, this is a real problem. And it sure doesn’t help your company become more diverse and inclusive. For that, anyone should be competent to understand and read your job ads. A first step is writing them at B1 level.
Increase the readability of your job ads with
The readability of your job ads is affected by many factors. The reading level B1 just means that approximately 60% of readers can understand your job ads. To reach this level in your job descriptions, you need to:
- Reduce the length of words and sentences.
Longer sentences are more difficult to understand. You should keep it short and simple. A maximum of 15 to 20 words per sentence. And you should try to mix longer sentences with shorter ones. Keep your words short and simple, too. Avoid jargon and outdated words that very few people understand.
- Write in an active tone of voice.
A passive tone of voice is often used in written communication. A sentence like “Your performance will be monitored” is passive. The active alternative to this sentence is easier to read. Just try it yourself. “We will monitor your performance.” That’s a lot clearer, right?
- Use “you” instead of “the candidate” and “we” instead of “the company.”
In your job ads, you should always speak directly to the reader. That is easier to understand. And it gives candidates a better picture of the job. So, they can imagine what the role is like.
Textmetrics and writing at language level B1
The readability of your job ads is so important. It’s a problem if potential candidates don’t understand them. Because they won’t read them. Leaving you with a limited group of candidates to choose from. Not great if you want the best talent. Or if you want to reach your D&I goals.
Writing at B1 level increases the readability of your job ads. But since that can be more difficult than you might think, Textmetrics is here to help. It uses AI algorithms to assess the readability of your job ads. Then gives you suggestions to reach the desired B1 level. This is as easy as it sounds. All you need to do is follow the instructions. Before you know it, a diverse range of people will be eagerly reading your job ads.