Diversity and inclusion in the workforce come in a number of ways. Gender diversity is one of them, and one that still needs some work. Politically, it’s high on the agenda. Companies want more women in leadership roles. While that’s an admirable goal, it’s one that seems to be hard to reach. And it’s not just a problem in leadership roles. It’s no secret that some industries are dominated by men, and even though companies in these industries say they want a more gender-diverse workforce, little progress seems to have been made so far. So, what can these companies do to speed up their progress?
The gender bias
How inclusive and diverse a workforce is, is linked to the recruitment process. For some reason, in some industries, companies mostly hire men. Gender bias plays an important role here. Gender biases are simplified judgments we make about the characteristics of jobs and the ideal candidates for them. For example, recruiters might think that analytical thinking and emotional thoroughness are typical characteristics of engineers working in construction, so they label these as typically male traits. As a result, recruiters may unconsciously be looking for male candidates.
Gender bias and gendered language
Gender bias during the recruitment process doesn’t only occur during the selection process. It starts long before that, with the job descriptions that recruiters write. They use male-coded language that puts women off applying for certain jobs. For example, the job descriptions may contain words like “dominant” and “analyze”, which mostly appeal to men. Research shows that gender bias is stronger in more stereotypically male industries, and chances are that in these job descriptions, there is some gender decoding that needs to be done.
How innovation can help
If you want a more gender-diverse workforce, you need to let go of the thought that there “just aren’t that many women who want to work in IT or construction” and look at how biased your recruitment process unintentionally is. A good way to start is by looking at the gendered language used in your job descriptions. At Textmetrics, we can help you do just that. We offer an innovative augmented writing platform that uses AI algorithms to help you write job descriptions using a more gender-neutral tone of voice and words that appeal to both men and women. Because when an equal group of candidates apply, it’s a lot easier to discover what women have to offer.