IT recruitment sexism is alive and well

sexismWith the number of female software engineers standing at 20.9% [1], recruitment of females into the industry is a major concern. A friend of mine, Rosemary Francis who’s MD of Ellexus, has a great talk about this issue.  It mentions various methods you can use to tailor your job applications to be more attractive to females, by simply being careful not to exclude or put off potential applicants.

However, there is also a very poor way of doing so, which is highly sexist and plays to stereotypes. As we can see from Bloopark’s hiring page, this is exactly what they have done.

Web developer (m)
Need for programming
You are addicted to PHP, MySQL and Javascript since years? Your life makes no sence without programming? Your girlfriend doesn’t understand, why you start learning the fifth php framework and your parents say, your head is full of unix and linux. Do you want to talk to us about this? We want to invite you to an anonymous or maybe very personal meeting. No worries, we will bring you to a team that understands you and will support your passion of programming.

Web developer (f)
Beautiful und sexy code wanted
We are convinced that woman are great programmers. Woman write sexy code: neat and clean. Many of them have long relationship… with PHP5, MySQL and Javascript. They like to talk and communication is essential in our work. Female programmers get along with customers very well and take such a good care of code quality, as if it is a pair of their new shoes. The best thing is that their detailed documentation and code organisation match the rules of Feng-Shui. Are you a female programmer with passion? May we invite you for coffee?

Really? New pair of shoes? Pictures of nail varnish? They’re in a relationship with code? And why does the male version need to have a girlfriend rather than a boyfriend?


[1] US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) –

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10 Responses

  1. Elessar says:

    To me, these are just job announcements written in a funny, casual style. They do play with stereotypes indeed, but since they do not really expect or require applicants to match them, it does not disturb me. I think every joke in such an announcement could be read in an offensive way, if you really want to be offended: personally, I prefer to take things lightly. They could have written something about beer, which would have been discriminatory against muslims, and so on: the only thing left would be boring, formal announcements…

    • Neil McGovern says:

      I think you may have missed the point. What’s happening is that a whole group of people are being generalised under a bulk heading. Making jokes about a group of people isn’t something that should ever be acceptable. The fact that it isn’t offensive to you personally doesn’t really matter when it offends vast numbers of others. See the resultant small explosion on twitter for example.

      There’s plenty of ways of making a job advert interesting.
      For example, take the (m) version, change girlfriend for friends, remove the (m), and you’re done!

  2. They appear to have yanked the ‘web developer (f)’ part, but they’ve kept ‘web developer (m)’, which I suspect is simply illegal. That probably wasn’t the intent, but they’ve still not thought things through.

  3. Martin says:

    I can’t believe this. Even as a joke it is not even remotely funny. At least they have removed that crap. Maybe not the whole company is stupid, but they left an HR trainee alone without their medication.

  4. tshirtman says:

    If it’s humor, it’s a major failure, and there are subjects with you simply can’t take a chance at being unfunny, really lame. I wouldn’t apply, in fact, as a dude, and even if i had only saw the first one, i wouldn’t apply, this is really a lame announce.

    • David Schmitt says:

      Indeed. I’d look for a work place that understands that work is work and play is play. Not a rehab clinic.

      PS: They seem to have pulled the female version already.

  5. Alban says:

    Agree. Also the “May we invite you for coffee?” is creepy, it sounds like an invitation for a date rather than a professional invitation and it makes that workplace feel very unsafe.

  6. Fishy Thought says:

    This is ridiculous! It’s a friggin’ job posting. How childish are people going to get? If you want the job apply for it. While you’re at it, grow the f$#k up! The world isn’t required to protect you from not liking what you read or how it is written.

    Welcome to the big boys and girls world!

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