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'Male-sounding' words put off female job aspirants

Posted on Apr 04 2014 | IANS

London, April 4 : Organisations that do not draft their job advertisements for managerial posts carefully could be losing out on good female candidates, a study indicates.

Women feel less inclined to respond to ads containing words like "determined" and "assertive" because such words are linked with male stereotypes.

"A carefully-formulated job posting is essential to get the best choice of personnel," said professor Claudia Peus from chair of research and science management at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany.

To reach this conclusion, the scientists showed fictional employment ads to some 260 participants.

These included, for example, a place in a training programme for potential management positions.

If the advertisement described a large number of traits associated with men, the women found it less appealing and were less inclined to apply.

Such traits include "assertive", "independent", "aggressive" and "analytical".

Women found words like "dedicated", "responsible", "conscientious" and "sociable" more appealing.

For male test subjects, on the other hand, the wording of the job advertisement made no difference.

"In most cases, it doesn't make sense to simply leave out all of the male-sounding phrases. But without a profile featuring at least balanced wording, organisations are robbing themselves of the chance of attracting good female applicants," Peus commented.

That is because the stereotypes endure almost unchanged in spite of all of the societal transformation we have experienced, she added.

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