Based on a true story. If you are interested in learning more about the Swedish Discrimination Act (in Swedish), head over to my post evaluating a range of answers to requests based on Chapter 2 Section* as final assignment for an advanced university course in Swedish Labour Law.
*”If a job applicant has not been employed or selected for an employment interview, or if an employee has not been promoted or selected for education or training for promotion, the applicant shall, upon request, receive written information from the employer about the education, professional experience and other qualifications that the person had who was selected for the employment interview or who obtained the job or the place in education or training.”
A larger Swedish consulting company recently claimed that “A simple change in recruitment ads significantly increased women applicants”. “Wow”, I thought, “that’s so 2017”. I remember the first wave of claims like this when I was working in the automotive industry 5 years ago. We had a job advertisement “scanner” as part of our diversity tool box – rumors had it that the scanner would highlight male words so that you could change them to something more female. Which in turn was supposed to make more women apply. Even today, some companies offer paid services on improving your ads, other tools are readily available online or you can just check out the original word list here.
I got exited about the claim by the Swedish consulting company – especially since they wrote in there press release that there were “a number of studies […] [showing that] the presence of masculine gendered words discourages women from applying to male-dominated roles, as they can make women feel they don’t belong in that work environment.” Maybe that actually was true. Maybe much has changed since 2017 and new research had been published to find a causal link between carefully gendered job ads and higher application numbers of female candidates. Spoiler alert – not much had changed.