Employers in the US must comply with equal employment statutes, but they are not required to include Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) statements in their job descriptions (unless they are a federal contractor). Still, many employers include an EOE or DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) statement in their job postings because commitments to EOE and DEI play a role in building a fair and inclusive workplace and employers believe these statements have an impact on candidates. But do they? And, if so, what kind of EOE or DEI statements should employers include in their recruiting materials if they hope to attract a diverse and competitive workforce and comply with regulations?

In their paper – Understanding How DEI Statements Perform – the team at Datapeople looked beyond the assumed and obvious regarding EOE and DEI statements. They tested five versions of statements – each with a different “slant or intent” – with a range of populations, seeking to find the language that best fostered a sense of inclusion, belonging, and fairness. They also tested whether excluding an EOE or DEI statement made a difference. 

Results showed that including an EOE or DEI statement can indeed increase a job or company’s perceived inclusiveness. But the rest of the team’s findings were surprising, even to them. 

Non-male, LGBTQ, and People of Color (PoC) populations showed a diverse range of preferences for the versions of statements in job descriptions. However, overall, a fairly standard “legalese” version of EOE/DEI language was viewed as both fair and inclusive by the widest spectrum of participants. 

This was particularly true for PoC and for women and individuals self-identifying as non-binary. Among LGBTQ participants, the legalese version of the statement also increased company appeal and a perception of belonging.

To learn more about the study design and findings, please open and/or download the attached paper.

Nothing at this time. Please check back for updates.

Maryam is a Co-Founder and Research Scientist at Datapeople, a platform that uses AI and automation tools to bring efficiency and fairness to the recruiting process. Maryam has more than 10 years’ experience in experimental design and statistical analysis and has developed expertise in applied social and organizational psychology as well as data science, computational linguistics, and machine learning. Her research program integrates these different approaches to generate a holistic view of how language and behaviors affect decision-making at multiple stages of the hiring process. Maryam has been invited to speak about the impact of heuristics in recruiting at various conferences on data science and business.

Maryam received her Ph.D. from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai (NYC) and her B.A. and B.Sc. degrees from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She is a member of academic bodies that advance behavioral research (American Psychological Association, Society for Personality and Social Psychology and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues). She is also active in organizations that promote women in technology (Women in Machine Learning and Data Science, Women who Code, Women in Analytics, R-Ladies, Py-Ladies).