How ‘Feminine’ Job Listings Alienate Male Home Health Applicants

“Home health aide” may be the third-fastest growing job in the U.S., but the language used to describe the job is hurting its popularity among half of all potential applicants.

Of the job listings for the 14 fastest-growing jobs in the country, job listings for home health aides use the most “feminine” language, according to a new analysis from Seattle-based artificial intelligence startup Textio. This has led to far fewer male applicants than female applicants for home health aide positions, the analysis concluded.

Textio analyzed 50 million job listings for the top 14 fastest-growing jobs in the country for language that incites incommensurate responses from men or women.

Job listings for home health aides often contain words such as “empathy,” “sympathetic,” “family,” “care” and “fosters,” the analysis revealed—words that are typically associated with femininity.

Job listings for cartographers, meanwhile, turn up words such as “superior,” “exceptional,” “proven,” “forces” and “manages.” Seventy percent of cartographers are male, Textio stated in the analysis.

At Moorestown, New Jersey-based Bayada Home Health Care, one of the top 10 largest home health companies in the country, job listings for caregivers “aren’t necessarily geared toward women,” Megan Miller, Bayada’s area director in Philadelphia, told Home Health Care News.

Still, the listings do include the word “compassion,” and Bayada isn’t willing to change that any time soon.

“I think from a company perspective, compassion is one of our core values,” Jim Armstrong, Bayada’s senior manager, communications, told HHCN. “We use that word everywhere, including office positions.”

The word is so heavily ingrained in the company’s purpose and in employees’ day-to-day that it seems wrong to leave it out of a job listing, Miller explained. Plus, compassion isn’t necessarily a female trait.

“We wouldn’t necessarily consider these words to be effeminate words,” she said.

Nationally, 89% of home health aides are women, Textio’s analysis found. Of Bayada’s 11,000 home health aides nationwide, only 5% are male, Armstrong said.

Bayada has a disproportionate number of female home health aide applicants, as well. In the past six months or so, Bayada’s Philadelphia office has probably had between 50 and 75 males who have applied for a home health aide position, Miller said. Of these applicants, 20 were deemed qualified and were interviewed. Six were hired.

When it comes down to it, many more women apply to the job, Miller said.

“The number of women is probably triple or quadruple more than [the men],” she explained.

Despite this disparity, Miller is confident Bayada’s recruitment strategy is working well for the company.

“I think it’s working on the amount of results that [our recruiter] sees on a daily basis,” she concluded.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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Mary Kate Nelson
Assistant Editor at Aging Media Network
When not in the newsroom, Mary Kate can reliably be found reading on her back porch, marathoning TV shows she’s already seen or overspending at Trader Joe’s.