Making diversity a priority in the workplace is an obvious moral obligation. However, it also comes with fiscal benefits. A Boston consulting group survey in 2018 found that companies with above-average diversity outperformed their less-diverse peers, producing greater revenue from innovation by 45%. The 2020 Mckinsey report, “Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters” also found that diverse companies were more likely to enjoy greater profitability overall.
The modern recruiter is well aware of all this. That is why HR teams everywhere are working to mitigate bias in their hiring process as a whole. And that begins with the job posting.
The job description is a potential candidate's very first impression of an employer. Biased language in the description may well discourage a perfectly qualified candidate from applying. That means you’re losing talent right out of the gate.
That’s why today we’re going to explore examples of biased terms in job positions to help you build a more inclusive hiring process where it matters – at the beginning.
It’s important to note that biased language in job descriptions isn’t typically deliberate. Rather, it’s a product of implicit bias. This form of bias is unconscious. That’s why writing unbiased job descriptions is so difficult. So, the solution to this unconscious problem is a conscious approach to inclusive language.
The first step is recognizing the types of bias that could present themselves in your job description. These include racial, religious, age, affinity, and gender bias.
Racial bias is the most obvious. Nonetheless, racially charged language is still prominent in many job descriptions. Those employers aren’t taking the time to consider the connotations of the language they use. They’re left wondering why their workforce is so homogenious and haven’t yet considered that they are inadvertently discouraging diverse candidates from even applying.
The same can be said for all types of bias. Gendered language favors one side of the gender-normative spectrum. Ageist language favors specific age groups. The list goes on, and it takes awareness to correct.
So, to help develop this awareness, let’s first take a look at some obvious (and not so obvious) examples of gendered language in job descriptions
These are only a handful of gender bias examples to watch out for. Once you’ve covered these, you can take gender-neutral job descriptions a step further by promoting diversity as part of your company culture in the job description. Expressing a commitment to these values will help combat gender bias in job descriptions and encourage everyone to apply equally.
Biased language by no means ends at gender. For every potential bias, there are words and phrases that follow. Although we may not think about it, those it affects do. So, here are some other examples of biased language commonly found in job descriptions.
The list can go on for a great deal longer than this, but you get the idea by now. Ttake particular care in writing your job description to avoid such language. Refer to ADA guidelines for writing compliant job descriptions for help creating more inclusive job postings.