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How to draft a female friendly job advert ?

(61 Posts)
Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 18:42:10

So as part of my mission to embark on positive discrimination, I.m having to reexamine how to draft our job adverts.

Women are not under- represented in any of our organisations so I'm on sticky ground in the legal sense but it's occurred to me that whilst I've always ensured that the interview stage is somewhere I can put across a positive message, the actual ad itself may not be attractive to women. I'm absolutely not looking to exclude men but I do want to avoid corporate wankery and terminology that appears to be gender neutral but is really male orientated.

I've thought about specifically referring to our maternity and flexi time policies but have been told by a recruitment company that these are code for crappy jobs rather than careers. One of the roles is ideally suited to someone with life experience, a prior career but just in need of a confidence boost and a bit of on job training. It would suit someone looking to return to work after a break but how do I get this across without it sounding like a waffly non job or scaring people off ?

Keywords like dynamic, ambitious, goal orientated are absolutely not allowed. So, what would attract you to a job ad as a woman and make you think I really, really want to work in that kind of organisation ?

We're also looking to develop a couple of 1 year paid placements for women leaving prison but that's longer term as it needs skilled input from various parties but if any one has any comments on that, feel free to chip in.

SacredHeart Sun 01-Feb-15 18:45:04

Do you have an example of the "old style" adverts? I can honestly say I have never read a job advert and been put off as I women so I'm wondering what it looks like.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sun 01-Feb-15 18:49:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 18:55:30

It's not about the old style ads putting women off, it's about the generic wording that I think appeals naturally to men rather than women. Hence dynamic, driven, career focused etc as an example - how does that make a woman who needs to balance caring responsibilities feel ? Does it put her off ?

It's the same with ethnicity etc. Theres nothing to suggest that if you're black, disabled, etc then you shouldn't apply but there's also nothing to specifically tell them that I would actually welcome their application.

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 19:04:56

Actually, salary may be an issue now that you're raised it, Buffy.

I think the salary is realistic for the role but possibly too high to attract women if that makes sense. It's exactly the level to attract and indeed does attract young ambitious men with completely irrelevant experience but who have the arrogance to think they can take a punt at it. Whereas a woman lacking in confidence could possibly see it as being above her. And yet be perfectly capable of the role.

EBearhug Sun 01-Feb-15 19:10:36

Job titles can make a difference, too. Unfortunately, can't actually remember an example, just that someone told me that changing the job title really improved the number of women who applied, compared with the previous title, though the spec remained the same - however, people are only going to look at the spec if they think the title is "them". (Must have been something IT/STEM, though, as that's the sort of thing I go to to hear this sort of thing.)

You're right to leave out the words like dynamic, driven and so on - that will put some women off.

www.monster.com/blog/b/job-descriptions-discouraging-women-0714
geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/HOWTO_recruit_and_retain_women_in_tech_workplaces
www.ere.net/2013/03/01/you-dont-know-it-but-women-see-gender-bias-in-your-job-postings/
www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/j/2/B16_1.pdf (page 8)

Things I would look for if applying:
* Do they publish stats on the gender split of their workforce?
* Have they been involved in any sort of diversity events? (Might depend on size of employer, but I mostly look at large companies, because that's the sort of organisation which will have the hardware I have experience with.)
* If I googled, would I find any news stories about them which are linked to discrimination?

I don't know if you can show anything like that in a job spec, but you might be able to make it more prominent (if it's positive stuff) on the company website.

EBearhug Sun 01-Feb-15 19:12:19

Do you include salaries on your job specs? Ours always say, "Competitive salary" and then you have to negotiate if offered (which usually works against women, or would do if we ever got to recruit any for techy roles these days...)

Primadonnagirl Sun 01-Feb-15 19:13:20

What do you think we'd say if you substituted the word " female" for " male" in your thread title?! Why do you want a woman instead of the best person for the job ( who could be either gender?)

MorrisZapp Sun 01-Feb-15 19:15:29

I dunno. I feel vaguely pissed of by your OP but can't quite say why. It's the thought of a job advert having to be women friendly I think? Is it a job exempt from sex discrimination act? I think jobs have be be advertised to all otherwise don't they?

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 19:20:39

Well, if you read EBear's links, you'll see that there is a link between male wording and the effect it has on women applying. The default in the corporate world is male friendly.

I'd like to redress that. And again, it's not about men, it's about ensuring that there is an equality of opportunity for women from the start. Men are more than welcome to apply. But they're not the ones who need the encouragement, women do.

WitchOfEndor Sun 01-Feb-15 19:22:53

Well if you want a woman for a non-crappy well paid job with flexibility, I'm your man woman. When do I start?

ProveMeWrong Sun 01-Feb-15 19:23:52

Life experience and prior career both sound good to me. They would both appeal to me as things I would have even after having had a career break for children. Maybe explicitly mention that career breaks due to child care on the cv would not be a problem as you are an equal opportunities employer and understand this is sometimes a barrier to those who have taken child breaks applying. That may turn off a few men unfortunately but may well attract a few women who felt lacking in confidence. Not sure if that is legal but I know from so many mumsnet threads and my own experience this is a real psychological (and often real) barrier for women who had had good careers in their 20s and 30s.

MrsTawdry Sun 01-Feb-15 19:28:03

We value the contribution which those returning to work following a career break may be able to offer.

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 19:31:10

The title is about the job ad - not who gets the job in the end. I don't see that it's either unfair or illegal to ensure that women aren't prevented from applying simply because I can't be arsed to put some thought into it and instead fall back on the conventional terminology applied in the professional world, by men, for men.

EBear - thanks for the link. They support a suspicion I had that this was something I've always missed and not given thought to.

Primadonnagirl Sun 01-Feb-15 19:40:59

You need to get some proper legal advice..you are clearly intending bias . I won't be applying grin

PetulaGordino Sun 01-Feb-15 19:46:29

How is she intending bias? The intended bias is in the original accepted wording of conventional adverts of the research is anything to go by. The OP is hoping she may be able to redress the balance

EBearhug Sun 01-Feb-15 19:49:41

A well-formulated job ad is to reduce the bias against women - it's to get more women to apply, rather than fewer men.

I do know a woman at work who admits she will positively discriminate in favour of women - she will makes an effort to mentor women and encourage them to apply for positions which will help them advance. We do not (at least in IT) have a level playing field - she's just trying to make things a bit closer to even chances. Men have been mentoring and sponsoring men for goodness knows how long.

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 19:52:39

Again, the job will ultimately go to the right candidate. Please credit me with some intelligence.

What I am trying to do is not narrow the pool of candidates before we even start the interview process. Which is what is currently happening.

My male associate who is currently drafting the spec has just had it explained to him that 'hit the ground running' apart from being naff, is likely to put off someone who has been out of the workplace for a while. That is the kind of thing I'd like to avoid hence opening the question up to a wider audience.

PetulaGordino Sun 01-Feb-15 19:55:06

Absolutely ebearhug (I mustsay your name a lot -my phone autocorrected to it!)

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sun 01-Feb-15 19:56:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuffytheReasonableFeminist Sun 01-Feb-15 19:57:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EBearhug Sun 01-Feb-15 20:07:30

We have sandboxes at work. They're servers where you can try coding new stuff and generally play around in a non-permanent environment.

Blistory Sun 01-Feb-15 20:10:12

Sandpits ? Sandboxes ? What fresh terminology hell is this ? smile

addictedtosugar Sun 01-Feb-15 20:13:46

Flexi hours would attract me.

I like MrsTawdry's line.

Part time hours????? Or Term time only???

EBearhug Sun 01-Feb-15 20:14:30

I think it's terminology you can safely leave out of your job ads. grin

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