5 Simple Tips for Writing Inclusive Job Descriptions
In the UK, the employment rate for ethnic minorities is 62.8%. In comparison, the employment rate for white workers is 75.6%.
Does your company need to diversify? Are you having a hard time recruiting talent of different genders, ethnicities, and other cultural groups?
If so, a lack of inclusivity in your job descriptions could be part of the problem.
Read on to learn more about the importance of writing inclusive job descriptions. You’ll also find some tips on how to make sure your job descriptions are as inclusive as possible.
How Unconscious Bias Affects Recruitment
The term “unconscious bias” (sometimes known as “implicit bias”) refers to stereotypes and beliefs that people hold about certain groups of people without being consciously aware.
Research shows that people develop unconscious biases very early in life, and these biases impact their behaviour in ways they don’t even realize. Fortunately, biases can change and be unlearned once one becomes aware of them.
Unconscious bias occurs during the recruitment process when someone forms an opinion about a candidate based on first impressions. For example, a hiring manager may prefer one candidate over another because the first candidate seems like someone they’re more likely to be friends with.
Hiring managers may let unconscious bias get in the way during the early stages of the hiring process, too. For example, they may make assumptions about a person based on their name, their hometown. These factors are irrelevant to the job and the person’s qualifications. However, they may still cloud a recruiter’s judgment and cause them to overlook a candidate who is a good fit for the position. This could impact the company’s productivity and performance, not to mention morale in the workplace.
Why Inclusive Job Descriptions Matter
When you make a conscious decision to write inclusive job descriptions, you will have an easier time attracting diverse candidates to your company. This gives you a chance to overcome your unconscious biases and bring more inclusivity to your business.
When your staff is more diverse, a lot of great things can happen, including the following:
Diversifying your staff helps to increase innovation and supports long-term company growth. By bringing in employees from all walks of life, your company gets to enjoy new and exciting ideas and perspectives that you might not have had access to otherwise.
Increased Employee Engagement
Diversifying your team can help to increase employee engagement, too.
Imagine being the only person of colour in your workplace. That would likely be an isolating experience, right? The discomfort that comes with not being able to relate to your coworkers may cause you to be less engaged and committed as well.
Reduced Employee Turnover
On a similar note, a lack of diversity and inclusion could cause your company’s employee attrition rate to skyrocket. Employees who are disengaged and don’t feel supported at work (perhaps because they feel isolated from their colleagues) are less likely to stick around as long as those who are engaged and supported.
Improved Problem-Solving and Performance
If you want to establish a high-performance team culture, a focus on diversity and inclusion can make a big difference. When you bring in a diverse array of employees, your team will find new ways to solve problems, and you will likely see an improvement in company performance across the board.
Attract Early Talent
If you’re interested in attracting early talent and appealing to members of Gen Z at work, emphasizing diversity and inclusion in your job descriptions is a must.
Younger job seekers tend to care more about these things than older job seekers. Highlighting your commitment to inclusion can set you apart from other companies in your area and make your business more enticing.
How to Write an Inclusive Job Description
Now that you know more about the impact of unconscious bias on recruiting and the importance of inclusivity in your company’s job descriptions, it’s time to talk about the specific actions you can take to ensure you’re attracting a wide range of people every time you advertise a new job opening.
Listed below are 5 steps you and your HR team can take to make your job descriptions more inclusive:
1. Showcase Your Values
These days, people want to work for a company that stands for something. Furthermore, they want to work for companies that share their values. When writing a job description, be sure to highlight your company’s values and what separates you from other businesses in the area.
Remember to be honest and specific when talking about your values and commitment to diversity, too.
Don’t just say you’re an “equal opportunity employer.” Clarify what that means to you. For example, you may want to specify that you will consider all qualified candidates, regardless of factors like race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.
Being more specific shows that you are aware of the many different biases a person may hold and that your company is committed to not letting those biases interfere with the hiring process.
2. Avoid Stereotypical Language
Aim to make the language in your job description as neutral and non-stereotypical as possible. This means avoiding gendered terms like “he” and “she” — stick to the gender-neutral “they” instead.
Be wary of using gender-coded words, too.
Some masculine gender-coded words might include the following:
Some feminine gender-coded words include:
Instead of using words that may have gendered implications, aim to be as straightforward as possible. If you’re looking for a sales representative or an administrative assistant, just say that.
Your job descriptions don’t need as much flair as you might think. You can still get your point across without using gendered language that might be off-putting to certain candidates.
3. List Benefits That Appeal to Diverse Audiences
When highlighting the benefits and incentives that your company offers, make sure you’re listing the ones that are appealing to a wide range of people. Here are some benefits that job seekers tend to associate with diverse and inclusive companies:
- Paid parental leave
- Childcare benefits and allowances
- Mental health and wellness programs
- Flexible and remote work options
- Paid sick leave
- Paid volunteer opportunities
Why is it important to offer and highlight these kinds of benefits? Put yourself in another person’s shoes and think about it for a moment.
Paid parental leave and childcare benefits show that you are less likely to be discriminatory toward employees who have children. This is a big deal for parents (of all genders) who are looking for new jobs.
Offering paid sick leave and remote work options shows that you will accommodate employees who can’t always make it into the office. This might include those with children or those who are disabled.
Even if a particular benefit is of great importance to you, it might make your company much more enticing to a job seeker who is highly qualified and will be a great asset to the business.
4. Shorten the Job Requirements List
Some hiring managers are tempted to make their list of job requirements as long as possible. They might assume that this will help them to weed out candidates who are qualified.
In reality, though, this can actually skew the candidate pool so that it contains more men than women.
Research shows that men are likely to apply for a job if they meet just 60% of the qualifications listed. Women, on the other hand, will likely only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications listed.
To avoid alienating female applicants who are good fits for the job and who will bring new perspectives to your company, keep your requirements list to must-haves only.
5. Avoid Jargon and Unnecessary Corporate Language
Avoid stuffing your job description full of corporate language and jargon, especially when you’re writing a listing for an entry-level position.
Using terms that people aren’t familiar with may deter them from applying for the position even though they’re fully qualified. Overusing jargon can be especially off-putting to younger job seekers, as well as those who aren’t native speakers and might not be familiar with the terminology you casually throw around.
Aim to make your job descriptions as straightforward as possible. The simpler they are, the easier they are to read. The more likely you are to get responses from a large pool of talented, capable candidates, too.
Time to Diversify Your Hiring Strategy
These days, diversity and inclusivity are top priorities for many job seekers, especially early talent and members of Gen Z.
If you want to attract these kinds of employees and show them that your business offers a positive company culture, make sure your job descriptions are as inclusive as possible.
Follow the steps listed above so you can improve your HR strategy and have an easier time hiring talent from all walks of life.
If you need more help finding interns and new employees to join your team, check out Udrafter today. We provide an on-demand, affordable solution to pair you with the best matches for your company in no time.