How to Write Job Adverts With Diversity and Inclusion
We have a responsibility to promote diversity in the workplace. Start at the beginning – ensure recruitment communications are unbiased and inclusive.
The global pandemic has amplified existing inequalities. As recruiters and employers we can help to counter this. Whether we’re writing a job description, a social post, an email shot to candidates, vacancy blog or video job advert script: diversity and inclusion should be front of mind.
Social, cultural and economic factors influence how badly people have been affected by the pandemic and it’s economic fall-out.
As we move from a public health crisis into an economic one, the damage from discrimination is multiplied. Systemic racism and gender bias mean BAME workers, and women, are more likely to be in people-facing, high-contact roles, less able to work from home. They are also more likely to have lower-incomes, less job security and a weaker safety net. Women and BAME people are more at risk of losing their jobs, and will find it harder to get new work.
A report from the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College in 2019 showed that applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 60% more applications to get a positive response compared to ‘White British’ candidates. While analysis from think-tanks are calling it a ‘Pink-collared Recession’ with women more likely to become unemployed, or to reduce their hours as the result of the pandemic. The reduction in hours is a factor often hidden in official figures.
Doing the right thing is reason enough – but there’s more.
There are substantial economic and business benefits to diversity. Diverse teams are more innovative, entrepreneurial and robustly skilled. Bringing several viewpoints can avoid group-think and make inclusive companies better at problem-solving, for instance. As we look ahead to a problematic market, that’s a significant competitive edge!
The McGregor Smith Review estimated that if we fully utilise BAME Talent in the UK, the economy could receive a £24 BILLION boost. Given the record 20.4% monthly fall in GDP reported in April, and with a no-deal Brexit still a distinct possibility, that £24 billion boost would be most welcome.
Monster has put together these tips to ensure every qualified candidate feels welcome to apply for your roles. You’ll reap the rewards of a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
Eliminate Racial Bias
Like gender bias, racial bias can be implicit and frequently is unknowingly perpetuated by recruitment professionals. But some careful attention to words and phrases used can help eliminate implicit and explicit bias, and increase diversity. Here are some suggestions:
When planning communications:
- Never mention race or national origin.
- Phrases like “strong English-language skills” may deter qualified non-native English speakers from applying.
- A “clean-shaven” requirement can exclude candidates whose faith requires them to maintain facial hair (and it also indicates the position is for men only)
When reviewing candidates:
- Avoid “Cultural Fit” and focus on “Value Alignment”
- Limit referral hiring, and go beyond your network
- Don’t waiver from the qualifications for a select few
- Ask everyone the same set of interview questions
- Challenge your assumptions based on names, schools and locations
- If possible, remove names from candidates and review ‘blind’
Avoid Gender Bias
According to a Hewlett Packard Internal Report, women will typically only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the qualifications. To avoid unconscious gender bias deterring women from applying to your jobs, consider eliminating requirements that are not essential. If the position is one where training can easily be provided, don’t insist experience in a specific software suite. Generalise areas where transferable skills are okay, and clearly outline which qualifications are required, which are strongly preferred, and which are nice to have.
Remove Gender-Coded Words
If candidates assume the role is more suited for the opposite gender, you will miss out on qualified candidates. The best way to avoid this common mistake is to avoid words that are typically understood to be ‘coded’ for a male or female audience.
Female-coded words include variations of:
Agree, empathise, sensitive, affectionate, feel, support, collaborate, honest, trust, commit, interpersonal, understand, compassion, nurture, and share.
Male-coded words include variations of:
Aggressive, confident, fearless, ambitious, decisive, head-strong, assertive, defend, independent, battle, dominant, outspoken, challenge, driven, and superior.
Check Your Advert Gender Language for Free
Work hard to remove gendered words from your adverts. Use gender-neutral jobs titles, avoid “Waitress”, “Doorman”, “Handyman”, “Salesman” or “Barmaid”. Before posting run it through one of the many gender decoders out there, like this one
Win over Experienced Workers
The UK is challenged with an aging workforce. A third of workers are over 50, with people spending on average 7 years longer in the workforce than in the 1970s , according to a report from Human Resource Executive. Some best practices for avoiding age discrimination include making sure your employer branding reflects a wide range of the age of workers at your company.
Additionally, avoid loaded phrasing like:
- “Young and energetic”
- “Party atmosphere”
- “work hard/play hard”
- “Digital native”
- “Calling all recent graduates!” (Unless for a specific graduate program)
- “Athletic” or “athletically inclined”
- “No more than X years of experience”
- “Junior” or” Senior” except as part of a job title
- “Supplement your retirement income!”
Be Inclusive of Workers with Disabilities
Make sure your job postings are welcoming to workers of all abilities by advertising when there are accommodations like flexible hours or tele-work policies that would appeal to workers with disabilities.Let applicants know your workplace welcomes and values all candidates with phrasing like: “Ability to complete tasks with or without reasonable accommodations.” Instead of writing “Access to your own vehicle isn’t always necessary”, try “Access to reliable transportation,” which is more inclusive to people with disabilities.
See the chart below for some things you shouldn’t say – and hover over them to see a suggested alternative.
Highlight your Inclusive Benefits, values and diversity commitment
Don’t make people ask you about parental leave, flexible working practices, benefits like health insurance – some people won’t feel they can, for fear they’ll be judged. Placing these initiatives in plain sight shows you are an employer who takes diversity, flexible working and inclusivity seriously – and will make you a much more attractive option for job seekers. They’ll better understand your company values align with their own and feel comfortable exploring working with you. Tell candidates proudly you’re an equal opportunities employer.
You might feel that this is too much information to have in an advert – and it might be with text, but you can get across a lot of valuable, high-quality, engaging information that showcases your culture and inclusion using video. Check out Monster Studios to quickly produce, edit and add free videos to your Monster job adverts.
Get Professional Help
If you’re looking for more help writing effective job descriptions and attracting a diversity of right-fit candidates to your workforce, consider having your recruitment campaign professionally written, posted and managed by Monster Talent Consulting.