Gender decoder tool spurs 30% increase in female applicants

Date:June 11, 2024

As a company that understands the many advantages of a diverse workforce, Projective Group has added a new tool to the recruitment toolbox. “The gender decoder tool removes unconscious bias wording from any text, making it more inclusive,” says Richard Edgerton, who was responsible for the project. The results are astounding: we saw a 30% increase in female applicants in one year.

As human beings, we are all susceptible to unconscious bias. These are often deeply ingrained and can affect our perceptions and behaviour without our awareness. Unconscious bias can manifest in many ways, including during the recruitment process. A company like Projective Group, which wants to recruit as diverse a workforce as possible, can benefit from making its recruitment processes more inclusive.

Biases in recruitment

There are several ways in which unconscious bias can influence hiring decisions, for example, by favouring people who are similar to us in terms of background, experience or interests (affinity bias), making snap judgments based on superficial characteristics (the halo/horn effect), or assuming traits or abilities based on membership of a certain demographic (stereotyping).

Making job descriptions as inclusive as possible is vital to attracting a diverse talent pool.

“Projective Group used to rely heavily on recruitment agencies. We had no control over what those agencies were doing to mitigate the unconscious bias within their recruitment process,” says Richard Edgerton. “When I joined a few years ago, my remit was to set up a robust internal recruitment function, predominantly in the UK. Given my 20 + years of experience in the recruitment industry, I knew we needed to ensure we were fishing in the widest possible pool to get the best diverse talent. So we started a standalone project around that.”

The gender decoder tool

The job advert is often a candidate’s first impression of a company. Once someone has seen the advert, they decide whether or not to apply for the role. So, making job descriptions as inclusive as possible is vital to attracting a diverse talent pool. “My English skills are pretty good, and I know how to write a job advert. But, let’s be honest: I’m a middle-aged, balding white man, and I write like a middle-aged, balding white man,” jokes Richard Edgerton. “So does that mean that the ad I would write would appeal to all the different demographics of candidates who see our ads? Probably not.”

This tool takes the text of the job advert and removes any unconscious bias wording to make it more inclusive.

That’s why Richard started using a clever piece of software: a gender decoder tool. This tool takes the text of the job advert and removes any unconscious bias wording to make it more inclusive. “We know that if you have an advert with more male-orientated words, it can put women off from applying. But if you have an advert that uses more female-orientated words, it won’t put women off, but it won’t put men off either. So we started to use this gender decoder tool with every single advert that we posted on LinkedIn, says Richard.

Our own tool

Alongside his work at Projective Group, Richard Edgerton is a non-executive director of a company who makes recruitment software such as an applicant tracking system (ATS). “I told them about the software I’d used, how it worked and how happy we were with the results. And I asked them if we could develop our version. Six months later, we developed our own tool, and I think it’s even better than some of these extremely expensive pieces of software we’ve been using as a trial. Now, we can use the tool across all our internal recruitment sites. And it’s not just job adverts: we can use it to make any kind of text more inclusive.”

The company that Richard is associated with is called UProsper. They’re making this software available at a much more affordable price so that other companies can also have the opportunity to utilise this technology.


Even though we’re fully aware of the benefits of a diverse workforce, we can never completely escape our unconscious biases as humans. That’s where software can help. However, a gender decoder tool that removes unconscious bias is just one tool in a larger toolbox. It won’t fix your entire recruitment strategy. However, it is a tool that will make your recruitment more inclusive.

Did this article spark your interest? Get in touch and we’ll see what we can do for you!

About Projective Group

Established in 2006, Projective Group is a leading Financial Services change specialist.

We are recognised within the industry as a complete solutions provider, partnering with clients in Financial Services to provide resolutions that are both holistic and pragmatic.  We have evolved to become a trusted partner for companies that want to thrive and prosper in an ever-changing Financial Services landscape.