A recent study, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that when equally qualified male and female candidates apply for a professional job, recruiters are much more likely to hire the man. And recent UK figures show that women in general earn 20% less than men and on average received lower starting salaries.
As an employer, you need to ensure you are not recruiting underqualified men over more talented women; as a well-balanced workforce will produce more creative results. It’s important to recognise the differences between male and female candidates and remain neutral when making your final hiring decisions. By tweaking your recruitment adverts and hiring strategies you will ensure a more equal split of applications so you don’t exclude candidates from a particular gender.
Firstly, ensure you advertise your vacancies accordingly and remain on neutral ground. In your adverts, try to stay away from masculine skills such as “assertive”, “competitive”, “challenging”, “aggressive” or “independent”. Words like these could put women off from applying for a job and you could be losing out on valuable talent. Instead, use words such as “dedicated”, “committed”, “loyal”, “supportive” and “responsible” which will be more appealing to your female audiences.
Ensure you advertise your vacancies using a variety of communication sources. A heavy reliance on social media tends to attract more male applicants, so try to use other channels such as your website, posts in local publications or email mailshots, which will help you to reach a larger market.
The goal with any interview process is to hire the most qualified candidate, but an unconscious gender bias can often get in the way. Studies show that men tend to approach interviews with more confidence and are less nervous than women. Male candidates can easily boast about their abilities, whilst women often downplay their talents. Try to consider this in an interview and ensure you are considering all applicants on a level playing field. Remind yourself what qualities you are looking for in the role and base your decisions on whether the candidate has the minimum skills and qualifications to do the job. Try to avoid “going with your gut” and think carefully about how each candidate could provide the best value to your company, despite whether they are male or female.
Taking these simple steps can change how you attract and assess candidates which will in turn help you build a diverse and innovative workforce.