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Indeed: Job Descriptions and the Gender Pay Gap


Earlier this year, Codebar, the AI Club for Gender Minorities and Ellpha partnered to run a data science hack on the UK Gender Pay Gap Data to discover words that would could cause gender bias in hiring/prevent people from applying.

  • The team working with data from Indeed found that when job ads for leadership positions omit salary information, the median gender pay gap is typically 7.2% worse
  • Whether or not salary information is present in an ad doesn’t seem to have a relationship with the pay gap at other levels
  • Companies with job descriptions including equal opportunity phrases had a statistically significant lower percentage difference in mean hourly pay, meaning that looking for companies where this language is used is more likely to land you a job where your wage is the same as your coworkers’ no matter what your gender is
  • These two findings suggest that applicants looking for gender equality should seek out ads which use diversity language and, where possible, peruse senior roles being advertised in the same company to see if those roles explicitly include salary information. These companies are more likely to have greater wage parity than other roles
  • Interestingly, direct statements about equal opportunity or promoting diversity was not significantly related to pay gap and if anything the relationship points to a higher pay gap for those that include a statement.

Paul Wolfe, SVP of Human Resources at the global job site Indeed, said:

“Employers need to win the trust of potential recruits, and transparency can be one of the most effective ways to achieve this. The data gives us further insight around salary information and how median pay gaps are worse in leadership roles than at other levels when pay is not disclosed.

“Interestingly, the research also found how there was a higher pay gap at companies who included template or standardised statements about equal opportunity or promoting diversity.

“The findings show that choosing words carefully can have a positive impact on inclusive hiring and gender pay equality, but it’s the words employers omit that can also have an impact — especially when it comes to the pay gap in leadership positions.

“Genuinely fair job design, mirrored in a strong job description, which includes equal opportunity phrases will help create more diverse and inclusive organisations, which in turn is then likely to erode the gender pay gap.

“Approaches such as these also make business sense. Unemployment in the UK is at a record low and competition for staff is increasing. Taking gendered language out of postings may help jobseekers to see possibilities they may not have considered before, and so diversify and widen the talent pool.”