This tweet highlight a problem with recruitment.
What's the difference between
❌ "Python skills are essential"
✅ "experience with Python is a benefit, but there is also room to improve your programming skills"
in a student job add? 60% increase in qualified applicants and ~30% vs. ~5% female applicants. ->
— Dr. Victoria Grinberg (@vicgrinberg) July 24, 2020
By changing the language used (to be more honest and inclusive), it increased the number of applicants by 60% and increased female application by a whopping 400%.
This highlights a perennial misunderstanding on how human brains work and the subtle differences in nature and nurture among different demographics. If you change the language, you get a different result.
So, recruiters, don’t describe the skills as “essential” when you mean “baseline”. And do a bit of research (I recently read a post by the inventor of a new framework in software engineering who forwarded a job advert that wanted 5 years experience in the framework that he had invented only two years previously).
But this is an issue, especially in light of the work done by Digital Circle and Raise recently in trying to get new graduate programmes for software engineering, data science and artificial intelligence. The Department had been using some spurious logic in the employment prospects of computer science graduates (and indicating that they thought that employment prospects were worse for CompSci than for any other discipline). Incredulous as we were, it didn’t take long to apply some smelling salts and figure out why they had this belief.
Change your language when hiring and you get more and better candidates.