Simplifying criteria

Why women don’t apply for jobs

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Research shows that men will apply for a job if they meet 60% of the qualifications, while women will apply when they meet 100%.

Below, is an example of listed skills for a project manager role at an engineering firm.

The candidate was required to:

  • Provide direction and leadership to a diverse team
  • Facilitate the development and delivery of strategies to maintain technical performance
  • Be accountable for the management, technical specification and tendering of all contracts
  • Deliver value enhancing improvement projects using project management philosophies

ACTION: To increase the number of female applicants, the business reviewed its advertisements, identifying and removing the ‘nice to have' elements, focusing instead on role essentials.

The resourcing request template can help your managers and recruiters simplify the criteria when they are writing job advertisements.

The required experience for the role before the review was as follows:

  • Experience working in engineering or technical services businesses
  • Strong, effective oral and written communication skills and influencing capability
  • Exceptional attention to detail as well as ability to efficiently manage tight deadlines.
  • The ability to work across several different business units at multiple levels, including travel to various geographies if required.
  • Exceptional Excel, Microsoft Word and data management skills
  • Qualifications in Business, Commerce or Engineering
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Strong track record achieving sales targets as an individual and as a team

After the review the skills that the organisation was looking for were:

  • Prior experience in a professional environment where you gained project management skills and a passion for working with others
  • The ability to communicate and work within a diverse team, in a conscientious and inclusive way
  • The ability to support cross functional teams and lead from the front when it comes to data management, so data knowledge is a big bonus

What makes this better practice?

  • Shorter list of requirements
  • Removed the ‘nice to have’ including the requirements of a degree
  • Focus on soft skills, such as ability to work with others.