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Gender Bias in US Job Ads

Our 6-month study of over 225,000 job ads uncovers systemic gender bias against women across 9 sectors


Sia Partners conducted a 6-month study of over 225,000 job ads, the largest English language-based study of job ads that we are aware of. Covering 9 sectors with over 2,600 companies we discovered systemic gender bias against women across all 9 sectors analyzed. By segmenting job postings based on their usage of proven masculine-coded* language, we found that US companies searching for senior executives exhibit greater gender bias against women than when searching for junior roles, at a 5.89% higher rate, on average. Over the 6-month period of our study, every sector had improved its inclusivity score, with the exception of senior-level job postings across Software & Platforms and Banking & Capital Markets, which surprisingly became less inclusive, with their inclusivity scores declining by 1.96% and 1.85% respectively. The persistent lack of inclusivity or attention to language in job ads across sectors coupled with the “motherhood penalty” shows a dim future for female job hopefuls in the post-COVID-19 era, as we project women are to incur a loss of potential earnings of almost $1.5 million over the course of their careers compared to their male counterparts. Companies need to take some simple steps in the upcoming months if they want to fully capture the female applicant pool post-COVID-19, such as including transparent salary information as well as incorporating inclusive language in their job postings.