Gendering in the job advertisement: this is how it works!

Badly readable, incomprehensible and sometimes simply nonsensical: This is how many people see the issue of "gendering" in texts. In the job advertisement, however, employers are confronted with legal facts and – in case of violations – even with fines. We show you how to do it right:

Gendering job advertisement

The goal behind gendering is a noble one: gender equality. Where women are often still financially disadvantaged in their jobs and are less represented in management positions, equality is to be achieved at least on a linguistic level.

Gendering in the job advertisement against one-sided ways of thinking

It often happens unintentionally or unconsciously that a certain gender is preferred when looking for new employees: IT technicians and developers are wanted? It’s a man who immediately comes to mind for most there. Probably someone with glasses, not too sporty and rather calm in disposition – also a cliche. Traditions and habits are what make us think this way. After all, the tech sector has long been a male-only domain. Or vice versa: cleaning specialists are quasi always female, or? Colloquially, one quickly says "cleaning lady", "cleaning man" appears there rather rarely ..

Such professions, which are perceived as "typically male" or "typically female", are usually also assigned typically male or female characteristics in the associated job advertisements: For example, there are strengths that tend to be assigned to the male gender in the minds of the majority of people, such as eloquence, assertiveness or willpower. But this way you (often unconsciously) ignore the female side and other gender identities. In order to reduce these disadvantages or. sometime completely to abolish, one tries to break up one-sided ways of thinking even on a legal level.

"Wrong" job advertisements and their consequences

Gender discrimination against employees is prohibited and can have consequences for the company. According to an EU directive, job titles in job advertisements must be "gender neutral". Specifically, this applies, among other things, to the advertisement, the hiring, the conclusion of an employment contract, but also the establishment of the employment relationship (for example, if a rejected applicant asks why you have not chosen him*her). However, many employers underestimate this legal fact.

Gender-specific advertisements violate the requirement of gender-neutral job advertisements according to the "Federal Law on Equal Treatment" (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – GlBG). According to the Equal Treatment Act, discrimination other than gender is still prohibited in employment on the following grounds: ethnicity, religion, belief, age and sexual orientation; however, these will not be focused on here. 59 Upper Austrian companies were reported for incorrect job advertisements in Linz in the summer of 2016, the OoN reported in September 2016. The Office of the Ombud for Equal Treatment is relatively strict in this respect. In mid-November 2016, however, the Upper Austrian Regional Administrative Court overturned notices issued by the Linz-Land district authority and classified job advertisements with the addition of "m/f" as admissible if the overall design of the text does not give the impression that only applicants of one gender are seriously sought.

A job advertisement (regardless of whether it is advertised externally or internally) must therefore be formulated neutrally that it refers exclusively to the job and contains only requirements that are really relevant to the advertised position. Since 2011, employers and private employment agencies have also been obliged to include the following information in every job advertisement Collective agreement minimum wage respectively. the the fixed minimum salary and, if given, to indicate any readiness for overpayment. If the job is advertised by a third party, for example by an employment agency, this agency must also comply with the legal requirements. A possible violation of the law can be attributed to the client. If you are instructed to post a discriminatory job advertisement, the employer is also liable. After a warning, fines may follow (up to € 360,- per violation).

The indication of the third gender (indicated by "x" or "d" for "diverse") is, by the way, not (yet) legally required.

This is to be observed in the job advertisement with regard to "gendering":

  • Only women or. Addressing men in job advertisements is not permitted by law; the job advertisement may also not contain any additional remarks that suggest a specific gender – except, of course, if a specific gender is an indispensable requirement, such as for the position of an opera singer.
  • This applies to the the entire text of the advertisement (not only the heading!)
  • The reference to gender indicated by (m/f/d) In principle, this alone is not enough (however, in the above-mentioned proceedings, this was classified as a borderline case and thus not a clear violation of the law, as long as the overall picture fits)
  • At foreign-language occupational titles, for which there is no corresponding female form in German (z. B. patissier, disc jockey, senior trader), clarity must be provided, for example by adding: m/f
  • In a job advertisement that is entirely written in a foreign language is a discriminatory job advertisement, it must be expressly stated that it is aimed at women and men
  • Allowed: in the sense of equality, it is possible to explicitly state in a job advertisement that the application of women in a male-dominated area of work especially desired (of course, this also applies vice versa for men in areas typical for women)
  • If there is a legal ban on employment for women, the advertisement should contain the reference "legal employment ban for women" in addition to the male job title
  • How you use gender – with slash, asterisk or indented I – is up to you!

It can’t:

  • Contradictory messages, a certain graphic design or. The reference "In the sense of the Equal Treatment Act, we are addressing interested ladies and gentlemen" – this does not turn an otherwise gender-specific job advertisement into a gender-equitable one
  • Linguistically incorrect formulations "We are looking for a graduate engineer. We are looking for a buyer/cost accountant." – Prefixing a job title with a masculine ending with an article with both feminine and masculine endings only gives the appearance of a gender-neutral advertisement
  • Gender-specific heading/job title and neutral text – this gives the impression that there is only interest in male applications. Example: "Wanted: Project Manager – You (m/f) have …"
  • Unclear terminology: The formation of new terms such as "salesperson (instead of sales personality) is as problematic as the phrase "sales professional" (professional is the abbreviation of professional – professional, i.e. gender-specific)
  • Also inadmissible are job advertisements that contain requirements that have nothing to do with professional qualifications (harmonious family life, neat appearance, etc.).)


Gender-specific job advertisements are only permitted if a specific gender is indispensable for the performance of the intended job. However, this is only very rarely the case, for example with models, singers, actors/actresses, social workers for a women’s shelter or social counselors for a men’s counseling center.


Office clerk Office clerk – Office clerk
Waitress Waiter
teacher Teacher
Assistant to the management (f/m) Assistance of the management
Head of logistics department (m/f) Head of logistics department
Skilled Worker Specialist

More information can be found in the FAQs for companies and organizations of the Office of the Ombud for Equal Treatment of the Federal Chancellery of Austria.

Binding information in the job advertisement

Even more information about binding information in the job advertisement (z. B. as far as salary is concerned) can be found in the whitepaper factsheet:

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