Job Adverts: How to Attract Diverse Talent to Your Business

Job advertisement plays an important role in recruiting talent and often provides the first impression of a company’s culture. In this article, we will explain why the neutral language in job adverts matters to attract a more diverse talent pool and give you some tips on how to create a great advert.

Job adverts & Diversity

Diversity is proven to help increase a business’ bottom line. As an example, companies that have at least 30% of female executives in their boardrooms make as much as 6% more profit than companies without women.

As bias language might have a direct impact on the ability to attract valuable candidates, it is important to use neutral language in your job listings to remove barriers of entry that stop top talent from applying for your positions.

Job adverts – How to avoid unconscious bias?

As unconscious bias is often communicated unintentionally in the way job adverts are written, here are our top recommendations to avoid the most common mistakes.

1.Use gender-neutral job titles

Job titles are one of the most significant aspects of your job description. Very often, they help form candidates’ first impressions of the job and can affect whether or not they will apply.

To avoid this, try to use gender-neutral job titles. For example, it would be better off using Chairperson (not Chairman) in the title if you would like to attract more women to the position. The use of “Salesman” would be another example (“Salesperson” would be a better alternative).

2.Be mindful of the job description’s style and language

Research suggests that 70% of job listings across all industries contain masculine words, with 94% of business descriptions written using gendered words, and 92% of job descriptions in Science and Engineering and Technology fall foul of gendered language. 

That said, even subtle word choices can have a strong impact on the application pool. For example, words like “aggressive” or “competitive” may attract more men – and discourage women from applying. On the contrary, words like “friendly” and “collaborative” are apt to attract more women.

Masculine words  Feminine words











Source: Example of the gender words according to researchers from Technische Universität München


Our recommendation is to ensure that your job adverts are up-to-date and neutralized from any gender-biased language. In this way, you may uncover talented candidates you might have otherwise missed as they choose not to apply.

3. Limit the list of requirements

While men tend to apply to jobs for which they meet only 60% of the qualifications, women are much more likely to hesitate unless they meet 100% of the listed requirements.

What to do? Instead of including all of the “nice-to-haves” that a dream candidate might possess, stick to the “must-haves,” and you will likely see an increase of applications from women. Or if you would still like to call out certain desired skills, you can soften the message with language like “bonus points for,” or “if you have any combination of these skills.”

Our recommendation is to cut down your long lists of requirements not matter what – one study found that the average jobseeker spends just 49.7 seconds reviewing a listing before deciding it is not a fit.

4.Avoid words that might be perceived as age discrimination

A single word or phrase like “young” can be problematic. For example, instead of using the phrase “digital native” as it suggests you only want to hire someone who has grown up in the computer/Internet age, try spelling out the skills you need (“familiarity with the x software“). Phrases such as “recent college grad” or needing someone “young and energetic”, also might be perceived as age discrimination.

On the other hand, if you want to attract the younger pool of candidates, try to not overload the job description with unnecessary jargon and corporate language as it is indicated as one of the biggest barriers keeping talented young people from applying to entry-level positions. 

Emphasize your company’s commitment to diversity & inclusion

If your company is already making major strides toward becoming a more inclusive place to work, you might want to consider including this in your job descriptions.

While you can simply state at the bottom that you are “an equality opportunity employer,” a statement in your own words is more powerful.

Where to start?

  1. Revisit a few of your recent descriptions.
  2. How does your use of masculine-wording compare to feminine-wording?
  3. Do your descriptions reflect gender bias or any other implicit biases?
  4. What can you do to make your job descriptions and hiring process more inclusive?


Are you looking to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce strategy? Get in touch today for a consultation about how we can help to attract talent to your business.