How do you get more women to apply to your roles?

3 minutes
Samantha Johnston

By Samantha Johnston

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the workplace, particularly in higher-paid positions, but why is this the case? Multiple sources show that women are significantly less likely to apply for jobs than men, in fact, they apply to 20% fewer jobs than men. 

A common response to this is that women are less confident job seekers and need to have more faith in themselves. In reality, it’s a much more complicated issue with multiple factors at play. 

One of the top reasons why women are less likely to apply is they don’t meet the qualification requirements or all the essential skills and experience. A widely noted statistic says that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of the criteria. 

There is also the fact that women are more likely to take on most childcare responsibilities. The more time a woman dedicates to her family, the less time she might have to apply for and pursue job opportunities, especially when flexibility and benefits such as flexible working hours, remote working, maternity leave details may not be offered or displayed on the job advert. 

It’s also not just a case of fewer women applying for jobs, but also a case of fewer women applying for higher-paid positions. Women are more likely to apply for lower-paid roles, with research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) showing that men are around four times more likely to apply for higher-paid positions, despite the fact that women were just as likely to be interested in the role. 

These trends and factors are concerning, especially when we consider how they perpetuate the gender pay gap. The Office for National Statistics indicates that the gender pay gap is still at a staggering 14.9%. If women are already less likely to be in higher earning jobs, this inequality is only likely to increase unless actions are taken. 

So what can you do as an employer to encourage more women to apply for your roles? 

Take action by removing the barriers that are created when there is too much, or non-essential criteria on the job specification, or when little to no flexibility is offered.

Ensure women are aware of opportunities available to them and what skills/experience are essential for the role.

  • Display the salary and any flexible working arrangements and benefits on job adverts that women would be most interested in.
  • Make your job advert more inclusive by using gender-neutral language. Leave out words like ‘competitive and ‘expert’ which are associated with male stereotypes and use words like ‘collaborative’ and ‘flexibility’.
  • Share stories of women who are succeeding at all levels in your organisation so they can see themselves represented in previous hires and be more likely to apply.

It is also important that you have honest conversations about gender inequality in the workplace. Make training compulsory and challenge outdated stereotypes so that women can progress their careers. 

If you are an employer who want to attract more diverse talent and particularly interested in addressing the gender pay gap or having better gender diversity within your organisation, then I would be happy to share advice on how I can support you with this. You can reach me at on 020 7198 6090.  

  • 020 7198 6000
  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF