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Tech industry found to offer most gender equality

WALK THIS WAY: Tech job adverts were found to appeal to both men and women equally, according to a survey of job-seekers

ACCORDING TO job search engine Adzuna, a suprising number of job adverts still use gender-biased language in the quest for perfect candidates, whilst some industries are bucking the trend. The technology industry was found to be amongst the least biased of all UK sectors.

The finance and travel sectors also proved themselves more immune to sexist language than many others.

The research was conducted in March and analysed a selection of traditionally masculine and feminine words across more than one million live job ads on Adzuna, observing the number of adverts in which each word appeared. The search covered 28 sectors and all 12 regions of the UK, to identify the industries most likely to appeal to applicants of each gender.

The research found a high proportion of ‘male-orientated’ words in adverts for sales and consultancy positions, with words identified as masculine by the study, like 'superior' and 'challenge' appearing more often than the likes of 'considerate' and 'understanding'.

Adverts for roles in teaching, social work and nursing, on the other hand, were found to be worded in a way that may appeal more to female candidates, with an emphasis on ‘compassion’, ‘warmth’ and soft skills.


Ironically, greedy candidates are indeed first in line to make top dollar, with average salaries citing this trait topping the salary charts with average pay of over £60,000. Employees with principles, on the other had, command far less, with advertised salaries of £38,000.

The most popular of the ‘masculine’ words included ‘lead’ (410,748), ‘active’ (219,468) and ‘competitive’ (202,188); but ‘outspoken’ (42) and ‘stubborn’ (37) employees were less in demand.

Of the feminine words, ‘support’ (519,187 mentions), ‘responsive’ (483,428) and ‘understand’(241,741) occurred most frequently in job descriptions on the Adzuna website. Conversely, 241 employers sought gentle staff, 132 felt being affectionate would boost chances of job success and just 6 prized modesty in applicants.

Northern Ireland and London saw the largest concentration of job adverts geared towards male candidates. Recruiters in the east of the country, on the other hand, were more likely to appeal to female candidates, based on the language used in job ads in these areas.


Even for the sectors that appeal equally to both men and women, the research highlighted a growing gender divide as the roles became more senior and the salaries rise. In the tech industry, senior data scientists and data architect roles both proved exceptions to the neutral language used elsewhere in the sector.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, commented:

“While the tech industry once again seems to be making great strides and disrupting traditional recruitment methods, some exceptions still exist. In the emerging world of data science. Our research showed both data scientist and data architect roles remain more appealing for the male of the species.”

”Unconscious bias may lead to accidental discrimination, but there is no excuse in 2017. It’s time for employers to head back to the drawing board and redesign their recruitment basics in order to keep up with the times!

”Recent data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed a 19% pay gap persists between male employees and their female counterparts. Despite improvements, it is predicted this gap will not close for at least another 70 years. We need to do better.”

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