The type of words used during a hiring process could be damaging UK businesses' chances of attracting diverse talent, according to new research from LinkedIn.
The research showed the differences in how men and women respond to certain words, as well as the language they use to describe themselves in the hiring process. For instance 52% of UK female workers would be put off a role if the workplace environment was described as 'aggressive' - compared to 32% of men. LinkedIn highlighted that over 50,000 job descriptions on LinkedIn currently include the word 'aggressive'.
LinkedIn also found that 40% of UK talent professionals never consider gender when writing job adverts, and 44% do not track or measure which gender their job posts are appealing to. Only 48% of UK talent professionals get training in inclusive language and unconscious bias.
Meanwhile, LinkedIn's research also found that 24% of women would be put off by the term 'born leader' (compared to 18% of men), 26% would be put off by the word 'demanding' (compared to 17% of men).
The research also found that men and women favour different words and language both when describing their work experience and how they express themselves at work, even if they are at similar seniority levels. While both men and women use measurable terms like 'hard-working' to indicate their work ethic, women tend to use more words that are ambiguous and relate to their character. This is backed up by the fact 59% of women would most associate women with 'softer skills'.
If a male colleague talked over them in a meeting, 31% of women would describe him as 'condescending', compared to just 17% of men who would feel the same if a fellow man did it to them.
Janine Chamberlin, Director, Talent Solutions at LinkedIn UK commented:'This research highlights just how important it is to understand the nuances in how men and women interact in both the hiring process and the workplace.'
Rosie Campbell, Professor of Politics and Director of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at King's College London, also commented, 'Getting the wording of an advert right can be key for attracting the right candidate. While analysis of LinkedIn data elsewhere suggests that the use of gender-skewed language has decreased over-time, unfortunately it is relatively more common as the positions advertised rise in seniority.'