Employment News

News added on 12.08.2019



Job ad language can deter applicants

A new report by LinkedIn has found that certain wording in job ads can be off-putting to a gender-diverse range of applicants. What can you learn?

The LinkedIn report, entitled “Language Matters”, found that 52% of women but only 32% of men would be dissuaded from applying for a job if the word “aggressive” was used in a job description. Whilst this may seem a somewhat unusual word to use, in fact over 50,000 job descriptions on LinkedIn currently include it. Similarly, 24% of the women surveyed said they would be put off by the term “born leader” being used in a job ad, compared to just 17% of men, and one in four women would be discouraged from working somewhere that was described as “demanding”. However, both men and women reacted positively to language such as “confident”, “talented” and “strong-willed” and other strong performance-based descriptors.

The survey also revealed differences in the way men and women respond to pay and benefits in job ads. Whilst salary was the top concern for both sexes, 61% of women said that the amount of paid annual leave was a top priority in comparison to just 48% of men. Similarly, 54% of women listed flexible working as a top priority, compared to 47% of men.

Despite these findings, 40% of employers never consider gender when writing job ads. Therefore, do think more carefully about the words you use in job ads and make sure they’re written in a gender-neutral way, avoiding certain types of “masculine” language.

Avoid using language like “aggressive” or “born leader” as these words and phrases are off-putting to women. Instead, consider using words like “supportive”, “diligent” and “confident” to describe your ideal candidate. Also, pay attention to how the workplace atmosphere is depicted - use words like “fast-paced” instead of “pressured” or “demanding”, to avoid suggesting a negative working environment.

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