There are a lot of things that men and women tend to do differently and the behaviour and thought patterns each adopts when seeking employment is yet another example of our opposing approach to everyday life.
Let’s take a look at the job search activities of men and women…
Naturally when reviewing a position description we ask ourselves if we are qualified to carry out the responsibilities of the role. For men, if they meet 60 per cent of the job requirements, they’re submitting an application. In contrast, Hewlett Packard identified that women seek out positions for which their skills and experience are 100 per cent aligned. Is this more conscious approach a hurdle that women need to jump? The savvy recruiter, alert to this statistic, may mitigate the potential gender imbalance by limiting the requirements of the position, focusing instead on the key objectives and not the qualifications. Other attributes sought can be listed as desirable.
LinkedIn’s Gender Insight report demonstrates that women are 16 per cent more likely to succeed in gaining a role they have applied for than their male counterparts, and are 18 per cent more likely to be hired when seeking a more senior role. They also apply for 20 per cent fewer roles than men. Perhaps being more selective with their job applications is not so much of a hurdle for women after all.
The means in which a job posting is scripted can also play a role in the number of men and women attracted to the position. Women are more opposed to strong language such as assertive, superior and even individual. They warm more to terms such as responsible, dedicated and cooperate. Men on the other hand are generally not perturbed by masculine or feminine terminology. Using gender neutral language is certainly something to be mindful of when penning your next job advert if you want to increase the rate of women applying for roles within your organisation. It may even be advantageous to have your job advertisements and job descriptions overlooked by a female colleague before publicising.
Employing several avenues to distribute a job posting will also help to equalise the number of male and female applicants. Women tend to access a variety of forums when searching for a job role, engaging with employee review sites and networking opportunities through family and friends. Men on the other hand are heavily weighted to seeking a position through traditional job sites and social media, particularly LinkedIn, according to Forbes. Have you tested this research yourself when posting a position for your company? Perhaps it is worth noting the mediums through which the sexes are applying for a position with your organisation to understand how your company connects with the opposing genders.
Interestingly women are more likely to place greater importance on benefits and work-life balance than men. Men on the other hand have expressed a greater emphasis on their salary being a non-negotiable than women. I wonder, do we still have buried deep in our subconscious that women are the prime care givers while the men bring home the bacon? The rise of the breadwinner mum may suggest otherwise. I suggest that posting a salary range provides transparency and signals a commitment to fair pay regardless of gender.
While you may be a proud equal opportunity employer, even going to great lengths to attract women to a male dominant industry or vice versa, have you considered if your recruitment strategy is unconsciously biased towards one gender? Understanding how men and women seek employment is a great place to start when asking yourself if you’re effectively reaching your target markets. If you’re not, will considering the methods employed by men and women when evaluating a position influence the focus and language of your job posting as you strive to improve gender diversity and equality in your workplace?