How to attract more women to apply for tech positions? This is a question that many tech companies are trying to figure out. Tietoevry decided to take action and address the issue at a grassroots level – with recruitment ads. By changing the content of their recruitment ads and making them more inclusive, Tietoevry was able to increase the percentage of women applicants significantly – from 14 % to 32 %. Inclusive job ads are an important step to build more diverse teams.
Being mindful about the language and content of the recruitment ads is an essential part of building inclusive recruitment. Recruitment ads reflect the prevailing organizational culture, and the content, visuals and language used can discourage women and other underrepresented groups from applying even though they would be qualified and interested in the job itself. Especially in more male-dominated industries, being mindful about content choices and creating more inclusive job ads can have a pronounced effect.
Tietoevry has set a goal to increase the percentage of the female workforce to 50 percent by 2030. To encourage more women apply for their open positions, the company looked at their recruitment history and analyzed the language used in their recruitment ads for implicit bias with the help of Inklusiiv and inclusivity expert Laura Smith. Based on the analysis, Tietoevry published new job ads with more inclusive language and content.
Being mindful about the language and content of the recruitment ads is an essential part of building inclusive recruitment.
“Gender balance is a serious issue in male-dominated industries, where many companies try to solve the issue by setting gender quotas or goals for a certain percentage of women in the workforce. However, these goals cannot be met without tangible solutions and actions taken throughout the organization. The complex issue of gender balance and the loss of women in the ICT industry cannot be solved with a new take on job advertising alone, but an applied DEI experiment can uncover essential elements of the solution,” says Laura Smith, founder of VALIDEI Research and a member of Inklusiiv’s network.
To test the effectiveness of inclusive content in job ads, the company simultaneously published two sets of recruitment ads, one with the implicit bias left in place and the other with the new, more inclusive content.
Inclusive recruitment ads are the first step to build diverse teams
Using more inclusive content and language in their recruitment ads brought Tietoevry tangible results: with this seemingly simple action, the company was able to increase the percentage of women applicants significantly. For example, the recruitment ad for a Front-end Developer in Finland with the original wording resulted in 14 percent of the applicants being women. Whereas with the more inclusive ads the share of women applicants was 32 percent.
“A change this simple can seem insignificant, but the results speak for themselves,” Laura Smith says.
With this seemingly simple action, the company was able to increase the percentage of women applicants significantly.
In Tietoevry’s case, inclusive recruitment ads attracted more female applicants especially for programming roles but did not increase the amount of applicants to a project management role. This shows that creating more inclusive job ads are especially impactful in roles that are traditionally more gendered.
Overall, this is an excellent example of a concrete action that organizations can take to create more inclusive recruitment practices and build diverse teams. Inclusive recruitment ensures that the best professionals can be hired for organizations.
“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,” says Trond Vinje, Head of HR from Tietoevry.
Creating more inclusive recruitment ads – three learnings from the Tietoevry case
- Be mindful of the language used in recruitment ads. It’s common to use biased or gendered language in recruitment ads so it’s important to consider how to make the job ads more neutral to attract a wider applicant pool. In Tietoevry’s case, for example, the word “competent” was changed to “knowledgeable” and “driven” to “focused” for a Front-End Developer role. Remember that it’s not just about words but how the overall language, tone of voice and content is perceived by different audiences.
- Using inclusive language is especially impactful in roles that are traditionally more gendered. In Tietoevry’s case, inclusive recruitment ads attracted more female applicants especially for programming roles but did not increase the amount of applicants to a project management role. When you create job ads, remember to consider if there is a risk that the content or wording in them discourages certain groups from applying.
- Remember that recruitment ads are just the first step toward inclusive recruitment practices. Every step of the recruiting funnel has an effect on the results of building diverse teams and building inclusive recruitment requires long term commitment. Also bear in mind that commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion requires concrete actions throughout the organization and its functions – creating more inclusive job ads is just one concrete action towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Continue your DEI journey here.