Objective champions & compassionate enthusiasts – Gendered wording in job ads

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.

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Effective ways of reducing the number of competent (international) HR applicants (Swedish edition)

Feel free to copy this job posting blue-print for your next HR-professional opening for a Swedish company. You will greatly reduce the number of applications from competent (international) candidates and in addition severely harm your employer brand. All translations my work, originals taken from real job descriptions.

  • Du har en PA-utbildning och minst tre års erfarenhet av brett HR-arbete med HR-frågor. (= You have a ”PA”-qualification and a minimum of three years of experience from broad HR-work with HR questions.) [1]
  • Erfarenhet av att arbeta i process med ARUBA (= Experience from working according to ARUBA) [2]
  • Vidare är du en street-smart person. (=Besides that, you are a street-smart person.) [3]
  • Du älskar att vara spindeln i nätet. (= You love to be the spider in the web.) [4]
  • A sense of humour is greatly appreciated [5]
  • Swedish and English mandatory [6]

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