Britain’s employers are guilty of using unconscious gender bias during the hiring process, a result of certain word choices.
Previously, the University of Waterloo and Duke University revealed the unconscious gender bias terms that were used in the US, indicating which were female-coded and male-coded and linked to gender stereotypes.
As Totaljobs seeks to raise awareness of unconscious gender bias in what has been called the largest study of language used in UK recruitment, some 76,929 job adverts were analysed over a six-week period. Results revealed 478,175 female and male biased words were used – an average of six words promoting unconscious gender bias every advert.
The five most common male-biased words used in UK job descriptions are:
- Lead – 70,539 mentions
- Analyse – 35,339 mentions
- Competitive – 23,079 mentions
- Active – 20,041 mentions
- Confident – 13,841 mentions
The five most common female-biased words used in UK job descriptions are:
- Support – 83,095 mentions
- Responsible – 64,909 mentions
- Understanding – 29,638 mentions
- Dependable – 16,979 mentions
- Committed – 13,129 mentions
A senior revenue manager role possessed the most male-coded words with 67 in its description, with 46 female-biased words in a residential worker advert and 44 in nursery nurse.
Job descriptions for Senior openings favour men with consulting, sales and IT sectors being worst culprits
Interestingly, job descriptions for senior openings were likely to have unconscious gender bias in favour of men, with male-coded words. This is revealed with the breakdown of the following jobs:
- Head – 1,013 jobs (50 per cent male bias / 36 per cent female bias)
- Director – 582 jobs (55 per cent male bias / 32 per cent female bias)
- Partner – 320 jobs (52 per cent male bias / 34 per cent female bias)
- Chief – 45 jobs (64 per cent male bias / 36 per cent female bias)
On an industry basis for unconscious gender bias, consulting, sales and IT were more likely to use male-coded language in senior roles.