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Language in job postings and its influence on the gender of applicants

  • Organizations invest money, time and energy on fostering gender diversity at the workplace. Other than being fair, diversity has been proved to improve company performance, as it promotes innovation, creative thinking and decision-making capabilities, as an example. However, having said that, there are still some sectors or areas which lack of a fair representation between men and women. In order to build a more balanced workforce, it is necessary for the organization to find ways to be appealing to all groups. One way can be to focus on the recruitment process. The recruitment process contains some major and minor biases, which can influence the hiring decision. In most recent years, it has been revealed that the words used in job postings can in fact encourage or discourage different groups of people, in this case, men and women. That is due to the fact that language is gendered, because men and women communicate who they are, what they want, what they need differently. Language is strictly related to how one person is perceived in the society and the role they have, with the risk of falling into a stereotype. The objective of the paper is to study and explain the effect of wording in job postings. To do so, around 200 participants have replied to a questionnaire which presents ten sets of job descriptions containing and comparing gendered words. The questionnaire allows to compare the answers from men and women and assess to what extend wording influence the application decision. It appears that women are more reactive to biased language than men and they prefer female-themed terms; despite being more indifferent, men also lean towards feminine language in some cases.

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Author:Alice Milano
Advisor:Armin Trost
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Year of Completion:2022
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Date of final exam:2022/11/30
Release Date:2022/12/09
Tag:Gender diversity; Gendered language; Job posting
Page Number:59
Degree Program:IMM - International Management
Functional area:Human Resource Management
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich gesch├╝tzt