How ‘Rock Star’ Job Listings Keep Women Away: The Broadsheet

June 14, 2019, 11:59 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Emma Hinchliffe here today. The NIH director says no to “manels,” freshmen in Congress collaborate on birth control legislation, and job listings have gotten out of hand. Have a wonderful weekend.


Help wanted. When did employers start looking for "data-obsessed, project-juggling digital ninjas?"

That's one question writer Amanda Mull set out to answer in this piece in The Atlantic. Companies are looking for "code sensei," "customer support rock stars," and in one particularly egregious example: a social media and marketing manager who is "one part visionary, one part online warrior, one part pop-culture guru, a dash of precocious energy, mixed with a little lyrical whimsey, and served with a shot of espresso."

As someone on my fourth job in five years (#millennials), this hit close to home. Whenever I've job searched, calls for "rock stars" have always made me pause—and I'm not the only one.

These kind of job listings tend to attract candidates who are—you guessed it—young and male.

“You wind up with a combination of a gender skew and an age skew when you use these fanciful terms,” ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel told Mull. Older professionals and parents are especially turned off.

So why do companies keep doing it? Misguided or not, employers are trying to stand out. We've arrived at this point via the changing labor market—with more jobs than ever filled externally—and "the internet’s ability to make things functionally more efficient but existentially far worse" compared to word-limited classified ads, Mull writes.

Beyond concerns about the candidates these types of job listings attract, there are some practical reasons recruiters might want to reconsider their prose. A program matching keywords from a "spreadsheet guru" listing might miss someone who writes "expertise in Excel" on her resume. In other words:

Wanted: Job ad copywriting rock stars eager to rein in Corporate America's verbose tendencies. The Atlantic


Women-led benefits. A survey from the Women Presidents Organization and EY found that among women-led companies, less than 60% offered their employees maternity leave. The finding stood in contrast with what 35% of women business leaders said was their greatest challenge: recruitment and retention. Harvard Business Review

On leave from Wall Street. While Wall Street has taken steps to improve its parental leave policies, that doesn't mean dads are taking it. The culture is still very much, "What could you possibly be doing in the first 10 days of your kid’s life? You’re not the mom," as former BlackRock managing director Khe Hy put it. Bloomberg

Goodbye, manels. National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins said he would no longer participate in any panels that feature only male scientists and released a statement pushing for an end to the practice. "It is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels," he wrote. New York Times

White House news. A federal watchdog agency recommended that President Trump fire Kellyanne Conway for repeatedly violating the Hatch Act, the law that limits political activity by government workers. Conway's disparaging comments about Democratic presidential candidates violate those rules (Trump himself is exempt). And late Thursday, Trump said on Twitter that Sarah Huckabee Sanders would leave the White House at the end of the month.

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Github hired Bitnami co-founder Erica Brescia as COO. WarnerMedia named CAA’s Christy Haubegger chief inclusion officer. Amid an executive shakeup, Farfetch named Holli Rogers chief brand officer. Coach's Caroline Deroche joins Stella McCartney as CMO. Make Up For Ever hired Gabrielle Rodriguez as CEO. IBM's Yara Saad joins Citi as head of HR for the Global Consumer Bank.


 'Beyoncés of birth control.' Freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Katie Hill teamed up with Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Ami Bera for a bill that moves to make over-the-counter birth control more accessible, ensuring birth control approved for OTC use wouldn't require a prescription or extra fees. The bill has an unexpected supporter: Sen. Ted Cruz.  Refinery29

Full house. Lori Loughlin isn't the only one on Fuller House facing allegations of some kindFull House creator Jeff Franklin was fired from his job as showrunner of the Netflix reboot at the end of last year because of the set's misogynistic and toxic work environment. Franklin allegedly complained about having to hire female and non-white directors and said he wished he could make all the women on his staff have hysterectomies. Franklin denies the claims and blames workplace politics for his dismissal. Vanity Fair

Stale joke. Joe Biden's habit of making the same joke to young girls and their families—basically, "lock up your daughters" and no dating until they're 30—is under scrutiny. It's a favorite line of his (Slate documents just how long he's been using it), but its resurgence shows how unwilling Biden has been to accept criticism or reevaluate his behavior with women. Slate

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When I have my hands inside a hive, I can't think about my to-do list, what to make for dinner, or an argument I had with somebody.
Mia Birdsong, a writer, activist, and beekeeper in Oakland

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