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Sweden – Firm defends women-only job advertisement

07 March 2014

A Swedish start-up has defended its decision to place two job advertisements specifically stating that they would prefer female candidates, reports thelocal.se. The co-founder of Brisk.io advised that technical firms, such as his, tend to be male dominated and he wants to address the imbalance.

 The job advert stated: “The position is in Malmӧ (Sweden), and you are fluent in English and proficient with technical tools. Preferably you are a woman. Yes, we are biased to hiring women for all positions.”

Hampus Jakobsson, co-founder of Brisk.io, told The Local that the lack of women in the office had been the motivation for the biased job advert. “The idea behind the advert was a collective one. I wouldn’t that it is a policy but a philosophy, as we want to create a non-homogeneous work environment.”

“Men tend to be more T-shaped (see graphic) and less willing to give things a try, whereas women are the opposite. In general I’d say that women are more tenacious and function better in teams. For tech firms there is a massive male bias of about 90%. The 10% of women who do work in this industry tend to be in the administrative side and not in research and development. That needs to change.”

Mr Jakobsson said that he hadn’t encountered any hostility from men with regard to the job advert, but admitted that he wasn’t sure if it was entirely legal: “So far all of our applicants have been women.”

A spokesperson for the Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen - DO), the state's equality watchdog, told The Local that would-be employers were not breaking the law if they stated a bias for a particular gender.

The spokesperson said: "When an employer wants to hire a specific person for a job they need to state that preference in the advert. In this instance it could be that the company is mainly made up of men and they want it to be more gender balanced. However, an employer cannot discriminate on grounds on ethnicity or race, as that would illegal."


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John 07/03/2014 9:26 am

Having worked for several large IT Services companies, I have to say that they are all incredibly sexist like this. If you are an engineer or some such profession where there are a lack of women, you stand more chance of getting the job as a man unless any women apply, in which case you will not get the job. However this causes the imbalance in these companies which causes them to overload with females in other areas such as HR or Procurement for instance. This means that men working in these areas are subject to massive discrimination and will invariably not stand a chance if a womand applies. We need to change this rediculous policy of over-all number balancing in large companies, and look to employ the best person for the job in hand at all times irrespective of gender etc.

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