When asked why there aren’t many women in management roles, companies will often respond “because we get so few good applicants.” Perhaps, though, they get what they ask for?
A team of academics at the Technical University in Munich showed 260 volunteers fictional job adverts and found that whilst wording has no effect on male volunteers, women responded more positively to terms such as dedicated, responsible, conscientious and sociable.
In other words, “male-sounding” terms, such as assertive, determined, analytical, could be putting off women applying for jobs and that organisations are robbing themselves of the chance of attracting suitably-qualified female applicants.
Professor Claudia Peus, who led the study said “A carefully formulated job posting is essential to get the best choice of personnel. In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to simply leave out all of the male-sounding phrases. But without a profile featuring at least balanced wording, organisations are robbing themselves of the chance of attracting good female applicants. And that’s because the stereo types endure almost unchanged in spite of all of the societal transformations we have experienced.”