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Gender Pay Gap: It all starts with Recruitment

5 Apr 2018

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The careers of women have been undervalued for as long as time can tell, something’s got to give. Following the latest gender pay gap report, businesses who have been named and shamed have no choice but to rectify the issue.

A huge cultural shift is needed.

How can recruitment help?

CIPD’s Peter Cheese claims that job adverts need to be better worded.

“There’s a lot of evidence to show that – unintentionally – many of the words used to describe jobs can be excluding of women, or make them think that the job is much more male-orientated, which reinforces male stereotypes.”

We think there is so much more that can be done.

Gender neutralising job adverts

As Cheese suggests, certain terminology can be heavily weighted towards certain genders.

Words such as ‘assertive’, and ‘competitive’ are adjectives coded in our society as typically male, compared to works like ‘co-operative’ and ‘compassionate’ which are nuanced with female connotations.

Apply some science to your job ad to avoid this. Services like Textio tweak job advert copy to describe roles in such a way to ensure a balanced slate of candidates.

Sourcing from female only channels

The platforms and services recruiters use to focus their job search affects who applies. Try to find groups, events, online forums that are attractive to individuals and groups who may be underrepresented in a company.

Geek Girl MeetUp for one is a great platform for women in tech.

Be aware of unconscious bias

Acknowledge that all humans have an unconscious bias. Understanding the biases of your team can enable you to take the necessary steps to change how you attract and assess candidates. Tests like the Harvard Implicit Association Test can be a useful tool for your team.

Establish objective criteria

Gut is often always our decider, but not always a positive one. Think critically about what you want the candidate to achieve within their role and culturally within the team and assess for this. Bring in other members of the team to establish an objective balance.

Be flexible

Need the role to be a full time 9-5er? Think about why? Can the right candidate achieve what they need to in 4 days, or can they work from home on certain days?

Establish a salary benchmark

Probably the most important for objective hiring. Decide a salary banding and stick to it. If you’re correctly assessing for relevant criteria for the job then this shouldn’t budge based on gender or availability.

Auditing and rectifying the recruitment process is just one step towards eliminating gender bias and discrimination in the workplace.


Want to know more, and how we can help to support this? Get in touch.