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Employer job ads inadvertently alienate women

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Employer job ads inadvertently alienate women

Seek mobile app

A common strategy used by employers in job advertisements actually tends to alienate women in particular from applying for the role, according to the head of Seek in Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking at a media briefing in Sydney on Friday, 7 June, the jobs platform’s ANZ managing director, Kendra Banks, revealed that lengthy lists of requirements tend to turn women off more so than men from applying for the position.

“We know there’s a difference in terms of how women and men end up [in terms of salaries]; we’re actually seeing that end up in their job application process. And what we found, the jobs that women are applying to on our site on average pay 3.6 per cent less than the jobs that men are applying to on our site,” she said.

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“Now there’s a lot of reasons for that — part of that is job mix... part of it is confidence. We know that the more dot points of capabilities required in the job ad there are, the less likely it is that women will apply for that job.”

Ms Banks subsequently clarified that it is not just dot points but the overall number of skills or selection criteria listed in an advertisement that tend to put off female candidates off from applying.

She said that, generally speaking, women often have the mindset that if they don’t have at least 80 per cent of the desired requirements stipulated in an ad, they won’t bother to apply, while men are more likely to take a chance and apply in such instances.

As such, Ms Banks said that Seek encourages all employers advertising job vacancies to keep their ads “punchy” and focus more on their top-line requirements for the position, in order to get a more representative pool of candidates.

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“We train employers to limit the number, to only put the top three things they really need, and you’ll get a more gender-balanced set of applications,” she said.

The same rule applies to the overall length of advertisements, Ms Banks said, with longer ones tending to restrict the number of applicants.

This, she explained, is because around 70 per cent of jobseekers are viewing ads on their phone, making scrolling much more cumbersome than on a larger desktop screen.

According to the Gender Equity Insights 2019 report by Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, released in March, the pay gap between men and women in senior positions is closing, and both genders could be on equal par in most management roles within the next two decades.

However, at a corporate level, the highest paid 10 per cent of female CEOs still take home an average of $162,000 less than the their male counterparts, and full equality at this level is still at least 80 years away.

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