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Breaking Barriers: How to Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

Diversity-First Job Writing Criteria For Tech Roles

In today’s diverse and evolving world, fostering inclusivity is more crucial than ever.

The first step towards building an inclusive workplace starts with writing job descriptions that attract and embrace candidates from all walks of life.

Get ready for practical examples to help you create an environment where everyone feels welcome, let’s dive into it shall we?

Choose Gender-Neutral Language

The words we use in job descriptions can inadvertently create bias and deter certain candidates from applying. To ensure inclusivity, use gender-neutral language that appeals to all individuals. For example, instead of saying “he” or “she,” use “they” or rephrase sentences to avoid gender-specific pronouns altogether. By doing so, you’ll encourage a broader pool of talent to consider your job opportunity.

Example: “The ideal candidate should possess strong problem-solving skills and demonstrate proficiency in their coding abilities.”

Focus on Skills and Qualifications

Rather than emphasizing specific educational backgrounds or experience that may exclude certain groups, concentrate on the essential skills and qualifications needed for the role. This approach allows individuals from diverse backgrounds to showcase their abilities, regardless of their education or career path.

Example: “We are seeking a candidate with a solid understanding of software development principles, experience in programming languages such as Java, Python, or C++, and a track record of delivering high-quality projects.”

Or when referring to responsibilities, mention that you don’t view the requirements as rigid and rather state the backgrounds you’re interested in. Such as you’ll might be a good fit if you have:

• Experience in Data/BI/Analytics/Software engineering, data science, or similar

• Expertise in Python (or Java/C# etc.) with a passion for writing high-quality code

• Advanced SQL skills with experience writing/tuning/debugging queries against large datasets from multiple sources

• Familiarity with the majority of the tech stack: Python, DBT, Redshift, Docker, Spark, Kubernetes, Terraform

Highlight Inclusive Company Culture

Job seekers often seek organisations that value diversity and inclusion. Use your job description as an opportunity to showcase your commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment. Emphasise your company’s diversity initiatives, employee resource groups, mentorship programs, or flexible work arrangements.

Example: “We foster an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity and equality. Our company actively supports employee resource groups and provides a mentorship program to empower individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.”

According to what your company offers, make sure to state what you are committed to. For instance:

“We are an equal opportunity employer committed to promoting a diverse, inclusive and inventive environment with the best employees. We’re driven by seeing our people succeed and grow, and we work to ensure everyone contributes to their fullest potential. We consider all qualified applicants without regard to age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, protected veteran status, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other protected status in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and ordinances.We are committed to work with you to look for reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.”

Share Inclusive Benefits

Include Caregiver & Family-friendly Policies such as offering paid maternity/paternity leave can significantly benefit women and men in tech who want to start or grow their families while maintaining their careers. This can also help to reduce the gender pay gap and promote gender equality in the workplace.

Examples of Family-friendly benefits:

– Offer paid parental leave for both caregivers and support for new parents.

– Provide access to on-site or subsidised childcare facilities.

– Offer flexible work arrangements to accommodate family responsibilities.

Get additional inspiration on what you need to include in your maternity policy in The Netherlands here.

Avoid Exclusionary Language

Your choice of words tells the applicant how inclusive your organisation is towards certain underrepresented groups. Candidates may feel they aren’t good enough to apply because of the intimidating language or even feel uncertain of what the position entails. Adjectives like ‘energetic,’ ‘fast-paced,’ or ‘who can give 110%’ indicate that your company is searching for a young employee who can work long hours. It could also imply that your company isn’t keen on accommodating those with families or that work-life balance isn’t necessary. Your job description should be inclusive of people from all backgrounds: old or young, single or married, or with or without children.

Avoid Bias in Adjectives

Be mindful of using biased adjectives that may unconsciously steer candidates towards a particular gender or demographic. Opt for neutral language that doesn’t inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes. Instead, focus on specific skills, experiences, and qualities required for the role.

Example: “We are seeking a detail-oriented, innovative problem solver with excellent collaboration and communication skills.”

Embrace inclusivity, break barriers, and let your job descriptions be a testament to your commitment to diversity and equality.

Most importantly, with every job offer comes equal pay for equal work. Offering equal pay is not only a matter of fairness and ethics but also helps you keep retaining and engaging your top talent. If you’re looking for a benchmark? We gathered some intel for you, check out our Frontend & Backend Salaries and Product Salaries in Berlin.

Tools to help you write inclusive job descriptions

There are several tools available that can assist by providing guidance and identifying potential biases. Such as:

Textio: Textio is an AI-powered writing tool that helps eliminate bias and improve inclusivity in job descriptions. It provides real-time feedback on the language used in your job ads and suggests alternative phrasing to attract a more diverse range of candidates.

Gender Decoder: This online tool analyses job descriptions and identifies gender-coded language that may unconsciously deter certain candidates. It highlights potentially biased terms and provides suggestions for neutral alternatives, promoting gender-neutral job ads.

The Gender Gap Grader: This tool analyses job ads to identify potential gender bias. It highlights any imbalances in the language used and provides suggestions for making the ad more inclusive and appealing to a wider range of candidates.

Remember that while these tools can be helpful, it’s essential to use them as aids and not rely solely on them. Consider combining the guidance from these tools with your knowledge and sensitivity to create a job ad that promotes diversity, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all candidates.

Together, we can shape a more inclusive future for the tech industry.Let’s work together, find out what that means ↓

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