Your job advert is the first communication between your company and a potential candidate. It’s your chance to sell the job to them and make them want to apply. So it’s a shame that so many employers miss out key info and inclusive language that could make them more attractive to job seekers. In a recent survey by Women in Tech, 84% of people said that they’d be more drawn to a company who speaks about being diverse & inclusive. So, the first touchpoint between you and a candidate is the perfect place to demonstrate this commitment to D&I. In this article we look at five different ways you can make your job adverts more inclusive in 2023.
One huge part of making sure your job adverts are inclusive is taking the time to ensure that the language you’re using is neutral. The words you’re using in your descriptions might be putting some candidates off without you knowing it. A common mistake recruiters make in tech is to use male-focused language, due to the sector being historically male-dominated. Words like ‘leader’ and ‘expert’ have been found to have masculine connotations in job adverts and so may turn a woman away from applying. Also, it’s best to avoid using pronouns in your job postings and make sure you select gender-neutral terms instead.
It’s not just gender you need to pay attention to in your descriptions, as language can also have an impact on the age of your applicants. Ageism in tech is a real issue, with around 22% of the UK’s tech workforce being over 50 compared to 35% of working people as a whole. IT companies need to have this on their radars, as by 2030 it’s predicted that over half of new employees in the UK market will be over 65. To attract these skilled older candidates, consider removing words like ‘energised’ and ‘dynamic’ from your adverts. It’s also common for recruiters to ask for recent graduates, when really this isn’t always necessary for the job. By taking steps to choose the language used in job adverts carefully, you can eliminate any discrimination and be more inclusive.
Something else you may not have thought about is the way you format your job advert. You need to ensure your posting is accessible for those who have disabilities such as dyslexia, visual impairments and dyspraxia. Things like the font you use, the layout and using clear concise language are all key factors. The British Dyslexia Association’s official advice is to use san-serif fonts like Arial, Verdana, or Calibri as these are much clearer and easier to read. They also suggest avoiding using underlines and instead using bold when you need to emphasise something. The government has some advice on different ways to make content accessible for different abilities.
Not only should your job adverts be accessible to those with varying abilities, so should your careers site. Many people use add-ons which make pages easier to read, so using plain text is key, as well as adding closed captions to any video or audio content.
We already know that candidates place importance on how inclusive and diverse a company is when they consider applying for a role. Your job advert is the main communication point between you and the potential employee, so it’s imperative to highlight the work you’re doing to be more diverse & inclusive. Many companies don’t think that this information is relevant for a job advert, but it can really help people picture themselves working for you. Do you have a diverse senior leadership team? If not, have you set a target to change this? These are all key parts of information which you need to include somewhere, whether it’s on the job description or on your careers site.
Nowadays many businesses choose to have a dedicated area on their careers site for diversity & inclusion. This allows a candidate to see what work is being done on D&I, and see where they could fit in within your organisation. Things like employee network groups, mentorship schemes and inclusive benefits could be the factors which make your job stand out over others.
Leading on from shouting about your D&I initiatives, it’s also really important to make sure your company benefits are listed. Don’t forget, you’re selling the role to an individual, and they need to see things which make them want to join. Candidate drivers are evolving and things like flexible/remote working and work-life balance are much more important since the pandemic. Research has shown that women in particular place a high importance on a company being flexible with their working hours, and so listing things like this in the job posting can attract candidates to apply.
As well as flexible working, the types of benefits people are looking for more are things like training & professional development plans within a role. People are less interested in knowing about a monthly social event as it won’t impact their personal lives. Candidates want to know what they will benefit from individually by joining your company. Use a clear and concise list or icons to show your benefits, and consider ordering them in a way which puts the most attractive and inclusive ones at the top.
As well as being open about employee benefits, it’s important to be transparent about salary too. We all work so we can earn a living, so the salary is arguably one of the most crucial factors for the candidate. Unfortunately though, recent research has found that salary transparency on job adverts has hit the lowest level it has been in 6 years. Some employers are deliberately not listing the salary on the job advert, instantly switching off many potential candidates. The yearly salary gives the job searcher a good idea of the seniority of the job and also lets them know the experience level. Employers are also missing out on highly-skilled candidates when they do not show a salary – many people will not apply for jobs with no salary showing as they assume it’s low. If that is the reason employers are not showing it, they need to re-evaluate if they’re paying the right amount in the first place, as they will only lose applicants further down the recruitment process anyway.
Not disclosing the salary can also perpetuate the gender pay gap in technology. This is due to men typically being much more confident and aggressive negotiators, leaving women settling on a lower salary for similar roles. Showing the salary from the start eliminates the uncertainty for the candidate and gives them an idea of what to expect, and a benchmark to work from if they desire a higher pay.
As the job advert is the very first touchpoint between an employer and potential candidates in their job search, it’s a hugely important factor which many companies overlook. There are multiple reasons a job advert can alienate diverse job seekers, but by addressing these five things and taking the time to ensure all job postings take them into account, a company has a great chance of hiring more diverse talented tech employees and being more inclusive in turn.