Understanding your Writing Coach Inclusivity score

14 Nov 2019

The nthuse Writing Coach will eliminate unconscious bias and boost the readability of your job adverts. It does this by analysing your writing for four key things:

  • Correctness, spelling and grammar
  • Clarity, readability and jargon
  • Biased or non-inclusive language
  • Structure and format

In this article, we’ll explain the importance of inclusivity in your job adverts and how nthuse calculates your Inclusivity score.

The importance of inclusivity in job ads

Without realising it, we all use language that is subtly ‘gender-coded’. This coded language seeps into our job adverts and reflects our society’s expectations and biases about gender.

70% of the adverts we reviewed when developing the Writing Coach showed a masculine bias. This is supported by research from Adzuna which found that 60% of job ads in the UK had a significant male bias.

This is a big problem for recruiters. Research by Gaucher, Freisen and Kay in 2011 found that women are less likely to apply for roles that include male-biased language. This is because it made the jobs sound like they were predominantly filled by men and this affected the women's perception of belonging in that role.

Interestingly, the researchers didn’t see the same results when they tested adverts containing female-biased language on men. Men were equally likely to apply to masculine and feminine biased ads.

This implicit bias within job ads has a direct impact on pay equality, as well as encouraging gender disparity and reinforcing stereotypes. In April 2018, the Office for National Statistics released their data on the gender pay gap: 78% of companies pay men more than women.

Writing inclusively in your job adverts isn’t just morally right, it’s commercially savvy too. Biased language will prevent more diverse and qualified candidates from applying, reducing your pool of available people.

Having a diverse workforce is also proven to have an impact on your bottom line. According to research by McKinsey & Co in 2018, companies with a diverse team are 33% more likely to outperform their competition.

It’s a no-brainer. Biased language is bad for business.

How does nthuse calculate inclusivity?

Your nthuse Inclusivity score is designed to help you write the most high-performing advert possible, not the most neutral ad possible. We calculate your score based on:

  1. The number of biased language alerts present
  2. The percentage of your text that has a masculine bias

Feminine bias does not count towards your overall Inclusivity score. This is because the 2011 research showed that feminine-biased language has a positive impact on overall conversion rates.

We do give feedback on overall and gender-specific neutrality because this can be useful guidance.

  • Neutrality is the percentage of your text that has neither a feminine nor a masculine bias.
  • Feminine neutrality is the percentage of your text that doesn’t have a feminine bias. You should aim for 98% or lower feminine neutrality i.e. at least 2% feminine-biased language.
  • Masculine neutrality is the percentage of your text that doesn’t have a masculine bias. You should aim for 100% masculine neutrality i.e. no masculine-biased language.

Biased Language Alerts

nthuse highlights and provides suggestions for masculine biased language. We look for masculine-biased words from the 2011 research plus common gendered phrases.

There are three types of Biased Language Alerts:

  1. Gendered job titles and roles
  2. Masculine-biased language
  3. Gendered terms and pronouns

Unresolved Biased Language Alerts will negatively impact your overall Inclusivity score. You should aim to remove all of these alerts from your text.

It's worth adding that even a slight masculine bias in your job ad is enough to affect application rates. Some of the alerts may seem trivial by themselves, but they are proven to have an impact on your advert's effectiveness, especially when combined with other biased terms.

How can I improve my Inclusivity score?

nthuse will give you tailored feedback and suggestions to improve your Inclusivity score, but here are two focus areas that will help you write more inclusively.

Watch your pronouns

When describing the tasks or skills of the ideal candidate, use “they” or better yet “you”. For example, “You will be responsible for running weekly team meetings”.

Focus on collaboration

Phrases about individual performance and competition tend to be heavily masculine biased. Make sure you include information about the collaborative elements of the role, teamwork and belonging to appeal to a wider audience.