#YesSheCan In-Depth: What stops women applying for jobs?

You’re scrolling through a company’s website after seeing a job vacancy you really like. You realise they have no images of women on their website and zero diversity with the images they do have. Would you click away?

In this #YesSheCan blog, we’ll be exploring the reasons why women don’t apply for jobs and sharing our own results from our Facebook and Instagram story polls!

The Reasons

Lack of representation

Representation is at the top of the list of things women want – especially from an industry they want to pursue a career in!

61% of women look at the diversity of a company before applying for a job. Many of us will understand this standard that we set ourselves because we know as women, if we can’t see ourselves in that company there’s a probability, we won’t achieve our goals.

It increases the chance of women experiencing gender bias and those who identify as LGBTQ+ to discrimination. Women of colour perceive a workplace as hostile if they can’t see role models or leaders that they can identify with.

Flexible Wasn’t Working Listed

A study found that once jobs were listed with flexible hours, women were more attracted to those roles. Another study backs this claim with more women searching for roles on jobs board based on their flexibility.

This reason can funnel down to the responsibilities that women have – this can be from childcare, solely handling personal or family finance and/or overseeing housework.

Women tend to ‘follow the rules’ more 

Women seeing certain roles as ‘men orientated’ and not applying for jobs due to lack of representation combines to make women feel like they can’t take a ‘leap of faith’ when applying for jobs.

16% of women stop reading job descriptions after seeing the list of requirements. This means if a job description lists all of the requirements they want instead of just the necessary ones, women will be more likely to feel that they’re not eligible and not take the risk.

Our Results

We ran a poll on our social media pages asking our followers “what really stops you applying for jobs?” and combined the numbers. Our following is diverse and many of them come from a variety of careers and backgrounds. The results were interesting!

Q: Would you click away from a company website if they lacked diversity in their images and staff?
Yes: 66%
No: 32%
Q: If they lacked variety of hours i.e., flexible hours or remote working?
Yes: 76%
No: 22%
Q: Would you take a ‘leap of faith’ when applying for a job you like?
Yes: 71%
No: 24%

This is the most surprising and interesting result from our poll. An overwhelming amount of our followers would take a leap of faith even if they didn’t fit all the requirements in a job advertisement. All we have to say to our followers is – go for it, you’ve got this!

Only change from leaders and recruiters will transform the way women view job adverts. Unloading the language used in job descriptions and businesses are showcasing their team more are great first steps.

However, reflecting on the culture and attitudes leaders and employees have in the form of policies and values will ultimately be the positive turning point needed to be inclusive. Change can’t happen on the surface – it needs to start internally.

If are a leader or involved with recruitment and understand you need help to go in the right direction, take a look at our diversity and inclusion training and other business support services. You can also read more about how you can encourage women back into their careers on our blog here.

Remember, you’ve got this!

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