- While job ads that use gender-neutral language "overwhelmingly" perform best, only 38% of job ads use such language, according to a Jan. 27 report from Appcast.
- Ads that do not use male or female-coded words tend to have lower cost per application (CPA), more applications and better apply rates, the report said, even over ads that use both male and female-coded language.
- Perception of language and its effect on job ad effectiveness varies across industry, the report noted, but examples of gendered language in the tech industry include "confidence," "decision" and "logical," which are seen as male-coded words; "compassionate," "interpersonal" and "sensitive" are seen as female-coded.
As more employers take stock of their diversity and inclusion efforts, companies are reexamining many of their processes, most notably recruiting — right down to the job advertisement. Multiple studies in 2019 highlighted the impact of gendered language in job ads; an August 2019 LinkedIn study found that using the term "aggressive" in job ads deters 44% of women and 33% of men from applying, for example.
Goldman Sachs saw an impact when it removed the word "aggressive" from its job ads, Rana Yared, formerly a partner at Goldman Sachs' merchant banking division, said at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in 2019. After doing so, the hiring of women skyrocketed and women eventually comprised 50% of her teams at every level, Yared noted.
Employers have also increasingly recognized LGBT applicants in job ads through the use of inclusive language, a 2019 study from Burning Glass Technologies found. More postings are using the terms "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" in their EEO statements. Employers likely still have work to do in this area, however; a June 2020 McKinsey report noted that LGBT employees still struggle to bring their authentic selves to work, pointing to the importance of inclusion across an organization even after recruiting is complete.