Blog

21 February 2019
UK industries sexist towards female applicants

Three in five UK-based industries are sexist towards female applicants, according to new research conducted by Adzuna.

The recent study that reviewed over 1.2million job adverts for the staggering 170 traditionally female and male-coded words such as ‘lead’ and ‘dominant’ for men, or ‘sensitive’ and ‘affectionate’ for women between 2014 and 2018, discovered that a 60% favoured what they named ‘traditionally male key phrases’.

The study found that consultancy and property maintenance topped the list of sectors featuring the worst cases of male-dominant phrasing, with a professional base of 50% or more male influence which has increased since 2014. On the flip side, the admin industry is statistically the most gender-balanced sector, with a gendered wording variable that hasn’t changed drastically in over five years. In 2015, the admin industry was completely gender-bias free.

It was found that the industries with the most female-biased language in job adverts in 2018 were:

  • Domestic help & cleaning (60%)
  • Teaching (38%)
  • Social work (30%)
  • Charity & voluntary (27%)
  • Healthcare & nursing (12%)

Adzuna Co-founder Andrew Hunter, commented:

“Gendered wording in job adverts can have the effect of supporting the gender imbalance within industries that are already perceived as being male-dominated. Unconscious bias may lead to accidental discrimination, but there is no excuse in 2019. It’s time for employers to go back to the drawing board and redesign their recruitment basics in order to keep up with the times.We’re already seeing movement being made towards gender equality when it comes to pay; why should attracting talent be any different?”

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