skip to Main Content

What Is The Impact Of Using Inclusive Language In Job Descriptions?

What Is The Impact Of Using Inclusive Language In Job Descriptions?

In the modern workplace, the language used in job descriptions can significantly influence the diversity of your applicant pool and, by extension, the inclusivity of your organisation. Crafting inclusive job descriptions is not merely about complying with legal standards, but creating an inviting atmosphere that resonates with a broad range of talented individuals.

Download A Job Description Template

This blog aims to guide employers, small business owners, and hiring teams through the nuances of inclusive language, illustrating its critical role in recruitment communications. Here, you will find practical advice on refining your job descriptions, access to all job descriptions from our comprehensive UK job description library, and our detailed guide, The Job Description Manual. These recruitment resources are designed to assist you in building a more inclusive, dynamic workplace that is well-equipped to meet the challenges of a diverse business environment.

Quick Links:

Highlights And Key Takeaways:

  1. Promoting diversity through inclusive language is integral to building a fair workplace.
  2. Truly inclusive job descriptions will help you attract a diverse range of talent, enhance you company reputation, and improve employee retention and satisfaction.

The Importance Of Inclusive Language In Job Descriptions

Inclusive language refers to communication that consciously avoids words, phrases, and tones that can be seen as excluding certain groups of people. This language is crucial in job descriptions and adverts because it sets the tone for an organisation’s values and approach to diversity and inclusion. 

Here are key examples where inclusive language should be applied in job descriptions:

  • Gender Neutral Language: Replace gendered titles like “salesman” with “salesperson”.
  • Avoiding Gender Bias: Use “they/them” pronouns instead of “he/she”.
  • Eliminating Racial Bias: Steer clear of phrases that culturally stereotype or pigeonhole.
  • Reducing Gender Coding: Avoid terms like “aggressive” or “dominant”, which may deter female candidates who perceive the roles as unwelcoming.
  • Discarding Discriminatory Language: Refrain from specifying an age group, such as “young” or “energetic”, which implies a preference for younger employees.
  • Simplifying Corporate Jargon: Use clear and simple language over complex industry-specific terms that might not be universally understood.

The relevance of using inclusive language in job descriptions extends beyond moral obligations; it is both a legal and ethical necessity in the UK’s diverse workplace environment. Legally, the Equality Act 2010 requires employers to avoid discrimination against protected characteristics such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. Using inclusive language helps prevent inadvertent breaches of this law, minimising the risk of discrimination claims.

Ethically, promoting diversity through inclusive language is integral to building a fair workplace. It reflects a commitment to equality and respect, helping attract a wide array of candidates and enriching the organisation’s culture and expertise. Inclusive language helps mitigate unconscious bias by ensuring job adverts do not subconsciously deter qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds due to gender bias, racial bias, or other forms of prejudice. Moreover, avoiding gender coding in job roles helps challenge traditional stereotypes, thus fostering a more inclusive culture.

In summary, using inclusive language in job descriptions is more than just compliance with the law. It is a critical practice that enhances corporate reputation, supports ethical standards, and promotes a truly diverse and inclusive workplace environment. 

Benefits Of Using Inclusive Language

Benefits Of Using Inclusive Language

Inclusive language in job descriptions is a moral and legal imperative and a strategic advantage in today’s competitive business landscape. It enhances the hiring process, making it a more inclusive recruitment process that reaches a broader range of potential candidates.

Below, we explore three benefits of encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion when writing job descriptions:

  1. Attracting a Diverse Talent Pool: Utilising inclusive language in job descriptions ensures that communications do not inadvertently exclude or deter qualified candidates from different backgrounds. This practice helps extend the candidate pool to include a wider range of talents, skills, and experiences, vital for fostering a diverse team. By addressing all potential applicants in a welcoming environment, companies can tap into the full spectrum of available talent, avoiding giving a false impression that might limit interest to a narrower demographic.
  2. Enhancing Company Reputation: In today’s socially conscious market, the public and potential employees scrutinise company values as reflected through their external communications. An inclusive job description can positively impact public perception and strengthen employer branding. Our blog, Why Should SMEs Build An Employer Brand? part of our Small Business Guide For Cost Effective Recruitment, underscores the significance of such strategies in building a reputable image that attracts top talent.
  3. Improving Employee Retention and Satisfaction: An inclusive recruitment process sets the stage for an inclusive workplace culture essential for employee retention and satisfaction. When employees feel part of a diverse and inclusive environment, it enhances their job satisfaction and commitment to the company. Moreover, inclusive workplaces are seen as good business practice; they are likely to experience lower turnover rates, as explored in our analysis, The Pros And Cons Of High Staff Turnover.

By committing to inclusive language, companies align with ethical standards and enhance their operational effectiveness. They create a more dynamic, innovative, and adaptable workforce, which is crucial in navigating the complexities of global markets. As such, embedding inclusivity into the fabric of recruitment and corporate communication strategies is not just a matter of compliance but a foundational aspect of modern business practice.

Common Pitfalls In Job Descriptions

Common Pitfalls In Job Descriptions

Crafting job descriptions requires careful consideration of language choices to ensure inclusivity and attract the broadest range of suitable candidates. Unfortunately, several common pitfalls can undermine these efforts, introducing gendered language and unconscious biases that limit diversity. By recognising and addressing these issues, employers can mitigate biases and foster a more inclusive hiring process. Below are some examples and implications of non-inclusive language:

Typical Examples of Non-Inclusive Language:

  • Gendered Language: Using job titles like “salesman” or “waitress” instead of gender-neutral alternatives such as “salesperson” or “server”.
  • Physical Requirements: Listing unnecessary physical requirements not directly related to job performance, such as “must lift 20 kilograms”, which could discourage applicants with disabilities.
  • Age-Related Terms: Phrases like “digital native” suggest a preference for younger candidates.
  • Cultural Bias: Using idioms or cultural references that may not be universally understood, potentially alienating candidates from diverse backgrounds.
  • Unnecessary Qualifications: Requiring degrees or certifications not directly related to the job performance.

Subtle Implications of Exclusionary Terms:

  • Dynamicenergetic: These can give the impression of age bias, suggesting a preference for younger candidates.
  • Aggressive: Often associated with masculinity, this can deter female candidates who might perceive the workplace culture as unwelcoming.
  • Native English Speaker: Implies a preference for candidates from certain countries or ethnic backgrounds, which can be discriminatory.
  • Flexible: Without context, it can imply an expectation of working odd hours, which might exclude candidates with family responsibilities.

Our blog, How To Choose The Best Words When Writing A Job Description, provides further insights into making language choices that are welcoming to all. Additionally, Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Job Adverthighlights how subtle language cues can inadvertently turn away diverse candidates. Both resources are designed to help refine your job adverts to ensure they are free from biases and appeal to a wide audience.

By understanding and avoiding these common pitfalls, employers can create more effective and inclusive job descriptions that reach a wider audience and contribute positively to the organisational culture and diversity.

How To Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

How To Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

Writing inclusive job descriptions is crucial to fostering diversity and promoting inclusive hiring practices within your company. To ensure that your job listings do not just attract but also encourage a diverse array of applicants, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to craft them effectively:

1. Audit and Revise Job Descriptions:

  • Initial Review: Review current job descriptions for any use of gendered language, discriminatory phrases, or specifications that might imply bias towards certain demographics.
  • Use of Inclusive Phrases: Replace any non-inclusive language with gender-neutral language and phrases that focus on the role’s requirements and the skills needed.
  • Optimisation by Experts: Our team will audit and optimise your job description, ensuring it incorporates inclusive phrases and relevant keywords to attract your ideal candidate. This review process includes eliminating jargon and biased terms, guaranteeing that the final version promotes a positive impact before your job listing is published on job boards and the top job advertising sites.
  • Final Approval: You can give final approval, ensuring that every element aligns with your company’s values and recruitment goals.

2. Emphasise Skills and Qualifications:

  • Focus on the necessary skills and qualifications required for the job rather than characteristics that might imply bias. For example, rather than looking for someone “assertive” or “youthful,” specify the need for “proven leadership experience” or “proficiency in current technologies”.
  • Ensure that the criteria set are genuinely essential for the job, which helps in reducing unconscious biases and broadening the candidate pool.

3. Utilise Tools and Resources:

  • Gender Decoder Tools: These tools help identify gender-coded words in your job descriptions that might skew towards a particular gender, allowing you to adjust the language accordingly.
  • Inclusivity Checklists: Use checklists to evaluate and improve the inclusivity of your job descriptions.

Our blogs, How To Write A Job Description and How Do You Write An Inclusive Job Description? offer additional insights and detailed examples that can guide you through creating effective and inclusive job adverts.

By following these steps and utilising the available tools and resources, you can ensure that your job listings are compliant with inclusive hiring practices and effective in attracting a diverse and talented workforce. This approach enhances the recruitment process and contributes to a more inclusive and dynamic workplace culture.

All Job Descriptions: UK Job Description Library

Our UK Job Description Library is a comprehensive resource for crafting inclusive job postings, providing employers and hiring teams with examples of all job descriptions categorised by industry. This library is designed to assist you in creating job descriptions that not only comply with inclusive hiring practices, but attract a diverse pool of candidates. By utilising a job description template or job description sample, you can ensure that your job listings maintain a consistent standard of inclusivity and clarity, setting a strong foundation for your recruitment efforts. Each entry is tailored to meet industry-specific requirements and trends, allowing you to fine-tune your job advertisements to better meet the needs of your ideal candidates:

Read Our Guide: The Job Description Manual

For an in-depth understanding of creating impactful job descriptions and adverts, read our comprehensive guide, The Job Description Manual. This essential resource significantly enhances your hiring practices, providing you with the knowledge and tools needed to attract the best candidates. The guide is structured into several key sections:

  1. The Difference Between Job Descriptions and Job Adverts: Learn to distinguish these crucial elements of the hiring process and use each effectively.
  2. Formatting Effective Job Descriptions: Gain insights into structuring your descriptions for clarity and impact.
  3. Creating Job Descriptions That Are Suitable for Job Adverts: Discover how to craft descriptions that transition smoothly into compelling adverts.
  4. Optimising Job Advert Content: Explore strategies to make your adverts stand out and attract top-tier candidates.
  5. Identifying Target Audience and Providing a Clear Market Message: Understand how to pinpoint and communicate effectively with your ideal candidates.
  6. Benchmarking Salaries and Advertising Jobs to Maximise Applications: Get practical tips on competitive salary benchmarking and strategic job advertising.
  7. Using Language Software to Entice Quality Candidates: Utilise advanced tools to refine your language and ensure it appeals to the best prospects.

Each section of the guide is meticulously designed to help you refine your recruitment strategy, ensuring you reach and resonate with the candidates who will drive your business forward. Dive into The Job Description Manual today to transform your recruitment approach and achieve superior hiring outcomes.

Download The Job Description Manual

Inclusive Job Descriptions FAQs

Here we answer the questions of employers and hiring teams on the importance of crafting more inclusive job descriptions:


Using inclusive language in a job description is more than just a practice; it’s a statement of your company’s commitment to diversity and equality. It involves carefully choosing words that promote diversity and do not discriminate against any group of people. This means avoiding gender-coded words such as ‘chairman’ or terms that imply a particular age, like ‘young’ or ‘energetic’. Instead, use neutral job titles and descriptions, such as ‘chairperson’, or focus on qualifications and skills necessary for the role. It is also prudent to include a statement encouraging individuals from diverse backgrounds to apply, affirming your commitment to creating an inclusive workplace.


Making job descriptions more inclusive involves several key strategies: first, audit your existing job descriptions to identify any potentially exclusionary language. Replace gender-coded words and age-related descriptors with neutral alternatives. Secondly, focus on essential requirements and skills needed for the job to ensure that qualifications are not unnecessarily restrictive. Additionally, consider adding a diversity statement and explicitly welcome underrepresented groups to apply. Lastly, use tools or consult with diversity and inclusion experts to ensure the language is universally welcoming and accessible.


Using inclusive language in the UK workplace is not just a best practice; it’s a strategic move. It reflects the values of diversity, equality, and respect that are fundamental to a positive work environment. It helps in attracting a diverse pool of candidates, which can enhance creativity, problem-solving and decision-making within the team. Furthermore, it signals to current and prospective employees that the organisation is committed to inclusivity, which can improve employee engagement and retention. In the UK, with its diverse population, inclusive language is not just a best practice but also aligns with legal standards regarding discrimination and equality.


Using inclusive language in job descriptions and broader workplace communication is profoundly positive. It creates an environment where all employees feel valued and respected, essential for their engagement and productivity. Inclusive language helps reduce biases in hiring processes, promoting a culture of equality. Moreover, it enhances the company’s reputation as an employer committed to diversity and inclusivity, which is increasingly important to job seekers and can lead to attracting top talent from a wider array of backgrounds.

Back To Top