101In 2007, Catalyst published research showing that corporate boards that include three or more women significantly outperform others; these companies show 53% greater return on equity, 42% greater return on sales, and 66% greater return on invested capital.

Since that study, the proportion of Fortune 500 companies including women on their boards has increased. A recent report by Fortune reveals that there are only 23 Fortune 500 companies remaining that have all-male boards.

In 2010, Helena Morrissey founded the 30% Club with the goal of getting the boards of FTSE-100 companies to include at least 30% women by the end of 2015 (currently 23.5% up from 12.6%). In April of last year, Peter Grauer launched the U.S. chapter of the 30% Club.

Participating CEOs and board chairs commit to building gender-balanced boards at their own companies and advocating for gender fairness within their industries.

Recruitment Advertising and Gender Bias

So this week we looked at a key question: When leaders commit to gender balance in the executive ranks, does it change the way people recruit and hire at other levels of their organization?

To find out, we looked at three groups of US companies and ran their public job listings through Textio:

Companies in the 30% Club. We wanted to see whether their job listings are less gender-biased than average.

Companies with all-male boards. We wanted to see whether their job listings are more male-biased than average.

Comparison group. This a sampling of Fortune 500 companies that have not made a strong executive statement about gender balance but do have one or two women on their boards.

Here’s what we found (skip to the bottom for our list of companies that are getting gender bias in job listings right).

30% Club job listings show less gender-biased job listings overall, but they are still male-biased.

All groups average at least moderate male bias across their companies’ job listings. This is in line with what we see at most large US corporations, with some variation by role.

On average the 30% Club companies show less gender bias than companies in the other groups (though there are a few notable exceptions on both sides).

The chart below shows how companies in the different groups stack up.

% jobs with male bias % jobs that are neutral % jobs with female bias
Companies in the 30% Club 47% 29% 24%
Companies with all-male boards 69% 22% 9%
Comparison group 59% 24% 17%

…except for jobs in tech, finance, and other STEM fields, where jobs are strongly male-biased in every kind of company.

Regardless of the number of women on the company’s board, jobs in tech, finance, and other STEM fields show significant male bias. The table below shows no meaningful difference between categories.

% jobs with male bias % jobs that are neutral % jobs with female bias
Companies in the 30% Club 81% 13% 6%
Companies with all-male boards 83% 11% 6%
Comparison group 79% 14% 7%


A few companies stand out from the pack.

Large companies are like cities; most include some great, diverse organizations and some that aren’t as great. But eight companies emerged in our analysis as having inclusive, strong job listings across the board, and we are happy to highlight them. These are companies with a range of jobs across the gender spectrum.

No companies with all-male boards made this list.

% jobs with male bias % jobs that are neutral % jobs with female bias
The Walt Disney Company 39% 38% 23%
Kellogg 39% 39% 22%
Aetna 42% 31% 27%
Macy’s 46% 29% 25%
Apple 48% 33% 19%
Gap 48% 28% 24%
Weyerhaeuser 49% 34% 17%
Prudential 51% 29% 20%


For comparison, here are the bias ranges for tech/finance/STEM jobs at the same set of companies:

% jobs with male bias % jobs that are neutral % jobs with female bias
The Walt Disney Company 76% 12% 12%
Kellogg 71% 15% 14%
Aetna 77% 10% 13%
Macy’s 68% 28% 4%
Apple 62% 18% 20%
Gap 67% 17% 16%
Weyerhaeuser 58% 30% 12%
Prudential 65% 18% 17%

Even at companies that show strong support for including women in the executive ranks, there is still a lot of work to do. It’s a great start to see gender balance in job listings across a company’s entire catalog of jobs, but STEM job listings everywhere still lag behind.

Read more at the Textio Word Nerd Blog.

KieranSnyder-MediumKieran Snyder is the co-founder and CEO of Textio, a recruiting technology startup based in Seattle. Kieran holds a PhD in linguistics and has held product and design leadership roles at Microsoft and Amazon. She has authored several studies on language, technology, and document bias.

Kieran earned her doctorate in linguistics and cognitive science from the University of Pennsylvania and has published original research on gender bias in performance reviews and conversational interruptions in the workplace over the last year. She participates actively in Seattle-based STEM education initiatives and women in technology advocacy groups.

Follow Kieran on Twitter @KieranSnyder or connect with her on LinkedIn.


By Kieran Snyder

CEO and Co-Founder of Textio. Long-time software product leader, accomplished data writer, recovering academic with a PhD in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Deep experience in product management, product marketing, pricing and licensing, and SaaS across the board, with specific technical strengths in natural language processing and data science.