When we look at the state of DEI in the UK workplace, it’s clear that there’s a lot still to be done. There are still huge inequalities based upon gender, race, age, and disability. It’s far from a level playing field.
But we know that strong DEI performance is good for business and wider society. Inclusive companies demonstrate better financial performance than their less diverse counterparts. They also find it easier to attract and retain diverse talent.
So what can businesses do to meet DEI challenges?
They have to develop a robust DEI strategy and work to implement it from the very start of their relationship with an employee. Where does that relationship begin? With an inclusive job advert.
The importance of inclusive job adverts
Your job advert is often the first point of contact between your company and candidates. And first impressions really do count.
This is a place where you can showcase your employer brand and set your organisation apart from others to attract the very best talent.
It’s also a place where you get to demonstrate the inclusivity of your workplace.
Inclusive job adverts are essential for several reasons. They’re important because candidates are looking for signs that:
- They are capable of doing the job successfully
- They will fit into the workplace
- They will be treated and paid fairly
Simply put: inclusive job adverts help you to attract diverse talent.
So how do you make your job adverts appealing to everyone — including diverse talent?
10 tips for writing inclusive job adverts
1. Use gender-neutral language
You probably already know that you shouldn’t be using pronouns like “he” or “she” in an inclusive job advert, opting for neutral alternatives like “you” or “they” instead.
But you might still be using gendered language without realising it.
Some terms are subconsciously seen as masculine or feminine by both recruiters and candidates.
For example, the BBC reported that women are less likely to apply for a job where they are expected to “manage” rather than “develop” a team.
Words like “competitive”, “leader”, and “rockstar” are associated with male stereotypes, whilst words like “support” and “interpersonal” are associated with female stereotypes.
Gender-coded language can send the message that your workplace is better suited to one gender or another — and it can put people off applying for a role.
2. Avoid language that excludes older candidates
A third of workers in the UK are now over 50. If you’re going to attract candidates in this bracket, you have to avoid language that excludes them.
Avoid appealing only to digital natives, recent graduates, and the young and energetic.
Equally, you may want to delete any job ad references to a “work-hard/play-hard culture” or a “party atmosphere”, both of which give the impression that your workplace is best suited to young employees.
3. Avoid language that perpetuates race, ethnic, and faith biases
To make your job ad inclusive to all races, ethnicities, and faiths, you should eliminate any discriminatory language.
Avoid any racially or culturally explicit words or requirements. And think carefully about how you describe dress code policies and company culture.
Remember that phrases like “strong English-language skills” or “native English speaker” may deter non-native English speakers.
4. Avoid jargon and corporate language
When you’ve been working within an industry for a while, jargon and corporate terms become part of your day-to-day language. But they can be confusing and off-putting for candidates who aren’t familiar with them.
Entry-level candidates have minimal experience in either the industry or the workplace. Likewise, people looking to transfer skills from another field won’t be up to speed with your industry lingo.
Avoid using acronyms and instead use simple, straightforward language.
5. Don’t list too many essential skills
Research has shown that men apply for roles where they meet 60% of the criteria listed in the job ad. Women, on the other hand, want to meet 100% of the requirements before they apply.
This means that many women screen themselves out of the process before you’ve even had a chance to assess their skills and experience yourself. You could miss out on great female talent because your job ad is too focused on required skills.
A long list of essentials can be off-putting for younger candidates too, who haven’t had the time to build up their skills and knowledge.
If you’re confident that you can quickly train new hires to perform a particular skill, leave it off your list of role requirements.
6. Consider whether to insist on degree-level education
Going to university is expensive — so expensive that many people in lower socio-economic brackets simply aren’t able to pursue higher education.
When you include a degree qualification requirement in your job adverts, you exclude lots of great potential candidates.
While a specific degree qualification is essential for some roles, consider what you’re looking for when asking for an unspecified degree. Try to focus on skills and experience rather than educational background.
7. Format your job ad in an accessible way
A few simple tweaks to your job ad formatting could make reading through it easier for people with dyslexia.
According to the British Dyslexia Association, some fonts and font sizes are more readable than others. Use san-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Calibri in a 12-14 point size. Highlight words in bold rather than with italics or by underlining.
Also, consider how candidates will apply. If you ask them to complete an application form, make sure it’s available online and as a paper alternative. Giving candidates the option of submitting a hard copy of their application can help those who struggle with backlit screens.
8. Reference the salary range
We all know that there’s a well-documented gender and ethnicity pay gap. Research shows that failing to disclose the salary attached to a role leads to lower pay rates for women and ethnic minority groups.
By clearly referencing the salary (or a salary range) for your open role, you indicate to all candidates that you value transparency and intend to pay everyone at your company a fair wage.
This helps build trust and can make both your company and the role much more appealing to candidates.
9. Include details of your benefits
It’s important to clearly outline any benefits you offer to employees, such as:
- Flexible working
- Remote working and a budget for home office setup
- Private health insurance
- Childcare provision
- Maternity and paternity leave provision
- Annual leave allowance
- Learning and development program
- Reasonable accommodations for disabled and neurodiverse candidates
Being clear about the benefits you offer helps reassure candidates with a wide array of circumstances. Reassure them that they can successfully fulfil the role while managing their additional needs or responsibilities, and you’re more likely to attract diverse talent.
10. Be clear on your company’s inclusivity commitment
An inclusive job advert has to include a summary of your DEI mission statement.
By UK law, you have to clearly state that you are an equal opportunities employer, welcoming applications from all people, regardless of their race, sex, disability, age, religion, or sexual orientation.
Go one step further by providing the contact information of someone in your company for anyone who wants to discuss access needs and reasonable adjustments further.
Candidates shouldn’t feel like they’re simply there to tick a DEI box. They should feel confident that your organisation is committed to building and supporting a diverse workforce.
Ready to post your inclusive job advert and start hiring?
After applying all these tips to your job adverts, make sure you head to our blog to read more inclusive recruitment tips. And if you’d like help crafting inclusive job posts, get in touch with the crooton team. We can help you create the perfect, inclusive advert to attract the right talent for your business.