Ninjas, Rock Stars Need Not Apply to Gender-Neutral Job Listingsby
Textio study shows ad wording can increase diversity of pool
Retail companies take six of top 10 spots in ranking
Companies that use such language in employment listings can fill those positions two weeks faster than the industry average of 60 days, said Kieran Snyder, chief executive officer of Textio Inc., which advises firms on how to increase the diversity of applicants. In a Textio ranking released Wednesday measuring the neutrality of the wording in job ads, retail companies took six of the top 10 spots.
“Retail is a tough gig, so much of the hiring is seasonal or for high-turnover positions,” said Snyder, a veteran of Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. “Competition to fill roles quickly is really tough.”
The National Retail Federation predicts that U.S. merchants will need to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 holiday seasonal workers this year.
Companies in all industries are jostling to appeal to more workers, particularly millennials, as lower unemployment increases competition for talent. Diversity has emerged as a key point as studies by McKinsey & Co. and others suggest that a diverse workforce leads to higher returns. Women continue to lag behind men in pay and power across the U.S. workforce.
Textio has gathered 50 million job postings from clients such as CVS Health Corp., Capital One Financial Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. To develop an artificial-intelligence model to predict future success in hiring, the firm analyzed factors such as the diversity of applicants and the time required to fill a job based on the words used, Snyder said. Textio examined companies with more than 500 job postings online in a year and ranked the top 50 based on outcomes predicted by that algorithm.
Bloomberg Beta, an investment firm run by Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Textio.
Phrases such as “ninja” or “rock star” tend to turn off women, for example, and even the amount of bullet points can skew applicants: Too many discourage women, and too few mean men may look elsewhere, Snyder said. The goal is to balance the solicitations so that they attract the widest pool of applicants, she said.
Considering that Textio’s roots are in the technology industry, the poor performance of Silicon Valley comes as a surprise, Snyder said. Five industrial companies, including 3M Co., made the top 50. Google is among four software and services companies on the list, while Kellogg Co. and Coca-Cola Co. are two of the four consumer-products companies listed.
“The companies that do this right are the ones we predict will be winning the talent wars in 2017,” Snyder said.