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Gender bias in job descriptions

What you need to know if you’re a woman applying for a role

Energy and utilities companies need to recruit more women and are constantly reviewing how they encourage a broader range of people to apply for their roles. Here’s how to spot a company that has been doing its homework and is actively working to avoid gender bias in its recruitment process and everyday working policies.

Consider what the marketing says about the company. Does their website show diversity, with examples of women that already work in the organisation? Communication is an important first step when it comes to delivering a diversity message successfully.

Studies show on average women will only apply for a role if they meet 100% of the criteria, while men will apply if they have only 60% of the attributes required

 Look at the content of job adverts and postings. A company that has been working on combating gender bias will focus on critical skills that are essential for the role and won’t include a long list of ‘nice to haves’ or ‘desirables’ which may unintentionally discourage women from applying. If this long list does appear, bear in mind the stats above and apply.

Energy & Utilities Jobs recommends that employers make use of gender decoder software when compiling adverts and job descriptions to help identify and remove gender bias. Look at the style an employer has used when you’re applying. Based on expert findings, about they should be avoiding, or using sparingly, the male-gendered words below:

Active, Adventurous, Aggressive, Autonomous, Decisive, Determined, Dominant/Dominating, Independent, Lead, Objective, Outspoken, Competitive, Confident

And they should balance these terms out with more inclusive words:

Committed, Supportive, Understanding, Considerate, Dependable, Honest, Interpersonal, Loyal, Pleasant, Polite, Responsible

Used in the wrong way, some of these inclusive words may play to female stereotypes and not seem empowering to women, so these should be used with caution.


Image credit: https://www.adaslist.co/impact/how-to-attract-and-hire-more-women-into-tech

Is the employer celebrating and showcasing women’s successes in the organisation through their social media channels? For example, awards, leadership roles, mentorship programmes and representation on working committees/panels etc.

Is the employer offering flexible and remote working conditions to attract working women with families? Are they highlighting where this is happening?

Energy & Utilities Jobs promotes hundreds of jobs attracting women to work in the sector, with our members constantly looking at new and innovative ways to appeal to the widest possible audience.

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