Women occupy less than 20% of ICT sector jobs across the European Union*. Increasing the share of women is challenging since they are less likely to apply to male-dominated jobs. Tietoevry decided to tackle the issue at a grassroots level – recruitment ads.
According to a number of studies** the presence of masculine gendered words discourages women from applying to male-dominated roles, as they can make women feel they don’t belong in that work environment. Together with an inclusivity expert, Tietoevry looked at their recruitment history and analyzed the language used in their recruitment ads for implicit bias.
Based on the analysis, Tietoevry decided to tackle the issue at a grassroots level with a new set of job ads with different wording. To test the effectiveness, Tietoevry simultaneously published two sets of recruitment ads, one with the implicit bias left in place and the other with less masculine wording
By changing gendered content in their job ads, Tietoevrycompany was able to increase the percentage of women applicants by 32% altogether.
For example, in the ad for the position of Front-End Developer, the word “competent” was changed to “knowledgeable” and “driven” to “focused.” In multiple ads, the word “independent” was replaced with either “a self-starter” or “self-directed.”
With similar and simple textual changes, Tietoevry was able to make a significant difference in the demographics of its applicants. For example, the recruitment ad for a Front-end Developer in Finland with the original, more masculine wording resulted in 14% of the applicants being women. Whereas with the more inclusive ad the result was 36%.
Gender equality is not the only topic of conversation when it comes to building an inclusive workplace, which is why Tietoevry is increasing DE&I awareness across the organization through training for recognizing bias. In Finland and Sweden, Tietoevry has nominated diversity and inclusion leads to oversee the actions taken towards an inclusive workplace.
* 2019. Eurostat.
** Gaucher, Friesen & Kay, 2011, Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality
“As a forward-thinking company in a male-dominated industry, we have the responsibility to actively find new solutions to increase the percentage of women in our workforce – and leave no stone unturned. This is not only about achieving a certain level of gender balance, but rather about the loss of immense potential when highly skilled female applicants don’t see our industry as a good fit for themselves.”