Location of Technical Authors – new data added to the map

location of technical authors August 2014

The Institute of Technical Communicators has kindly provided us with additional data for our Location of Technical Authors map. They’ve supplied us with an anonymised list of the location of ISTC members. These are indicted by the peach coloured pins on the map.

It confirms the locations where there are shortages of Technical Authors, with the exception of two areas: Birmingham and Glasgow. It also suggests new clusters: one around Colchester and Ipswich, and another around Cardiff.

 

Is there gender bias in your Technical Author job advert?

Simon Morisawa-Bostock pointed me towards an article on gender bias in job advertisements (You Don’t Know It, But Women See Gender Bias in Your Job Postings):

A scientific study of 4,000 job descriptions revealed that a lack of gender-inclusive wording caused significant implications for recruiting professionals tasked to recruit women to hard-to-fill positions underrepresented by women.

Researchers studied gender wording in job advertisements and job descriptions and the effect of gender wording on job seekers. The researchers first established that women’s style of communication is more communal, using more emotional and social words than men’s style of speech.

The researchers linguistically coded job descriptions found in a U.S. Department of Labor database that were predominately populated for masculine-themed words such as active, ambitious, analytical, competitive, dominate, challenging, confident, decisive, determined, independent, leader, objective, etc., as well as feminine-themed words such as committed, connected, cooperative, dependable, interpersonal, loyal, responsible, supportive, trust, etc. The results confirmed that job descriptions for male-dominated jobs contained more masculine-themed words associated with male stereotypes than job descriptions from female-dominated jobs and vice versa.

Alarm bells ring in my mind when people talk about “a women’s style of communication”. As a number of commentators at the end of the article pointed out, many of the words and phrases the researchers identified as “gender-themed” could also be attributed to differing personality and behavioural styles.

Technical Authoring is a profession that has a roughly 50:50 gender split, requiring some so-called masculine traits (e.g. independent, analytical, active) and some so-called feminine traits (e.g. committed, connected, cooperative, dependable, responsible, supportive). However, there are some “masculine” traits you wouldn’t normally associate with the role and expect to see in a job advert - such as competitive, dominate, challenging, confident, decisive and determined.

We do receive, on occasions, job descriptions that don’t really reflect the attributes associated with successful technical communicators. Part of the value a specialist technical author recruitment agency provides is to reword job descriptions so that will attract the right type of candidates. I took a brief look at some of the recent job descriptions we’ve received from clients, and I couldn’t find any evidence of a dominance of “masculine” or “feminine” words in the job descriptions. From that perspective, there was no particular bias that needed to be mitigated.

I  looked at whether some of the “masculine” words appeared in job adverts for Technical Authors posted elsewhere on the Web. Again, there seemed to be no particular bias. Having said that, there were a few notable examples:

“As Technical/Training Author you must boast a great knowledge and experience in technical authoring, a demonstrable record of producing high-quality technical documentation and materials within a software product environment, and experience of training external clients and internal teams. … This role demands a confident, client facing Technical Author who is at with working in a software house.”

“As an exceptional Technical Author you will be adept at delivering reader-friendly, technically accurate and complete product documentation on time to demanding schedules…Our client is looking for only the most exceptional and talented candidates – true rockstars of their profession.”

I suspect these organisations will struggle to find suitable candidates.

What do you think? Have you seen inappropriately worded job descriptions for Technical Authors? Share your thoughts below.

Creating a map showing the location of Technical Authors

Sarah Maddox’s post on how she has added “techcomm titbits” onto an interactive map, prompted me to look at whether we could create a map showing the location of Technical Authors around the UK. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for years, and Sarah’s post suggested it was much easier to do these days, thanks to Google’s applications.

The map needs data, so if you are a Technical Author, please add your details to the map:

We will not include your name or email address on the map. However we do need your name and email address in order to check the integrity of the data and to update you of any developments. You can use the postcode of a neighbouring street, if you wish.

We currently have an intermittent problem with our website. If you see an Error Establishing Database connection message, please refresh the page and it should appear.

Please take part in our brief survey on Technical Author recruitment

Please take part in our brief survey, and share your thoughts on hiring technical communicators/Technical Authors.Training and recruitment can be closely related, which is partly why we are conducting two surveys.

Here is the link:

Cherryleaf Recruitment Survey

There are eight simple questions, and it should only take a couple of minutes to complete.

By taking part you are helping us to help you by offering the type of recruitment services you really need.

Thank you!

Continue reading

Need content written? Need a Technical Author?

Need content written?  Cherryleaf’s Content Development Services team can help: clear information, written for you, simply and efficiently:

Need a Technical Author? Cherryleaf’s Recruitment Services team can help: the specialist recruitment service for permanent and contract Technical Authors.

Call +44 (0)208 13 31 301 or send us an email.

 

Technical Author vacancy salaries rise by 14.83%

According to the ITJobswatch Web site, the average salary quoted in vacancies for a Technical Author has risen by 14.83% over the last 12 months. The average salary offered has risen to £40,000, compared to £35,000 for the same period in 2011 and 2010. 90% of jobs offered a salary of more than £27,950. 10% of jobs offered a salary of more than £45,000. If we take London vacancies out of the figures, then the average is £37,500.

These increases are in a market where there has been a 2% reduction in the number of vacancies for Technical Authors.

So if there are fewer vacancies, what is causing the salaries to increase?

Judging by the required skills listed according to the site, and based on the vacancies our Technical Author recruiting service has had on its books, there doesn’t seem to be any significant change there.

It may be the increase is simply taking into account the period of salary freezes in 2010 and 2011.

Another possibility is a demographic change. Many authors started their careers in the 1970s and 1980s through training schemes offered by large IT companies such as Digital, HP, ICL and IBM. As they leave the job market, there may just be fewer Technical Authors around. With few graduate and junior Technical Authors around at the moment, it may be we’re seeing a high demand for that particular age/experience group.

See also:

Cherryleaf specialist Technical Author recruiting services

Cherryleaf Technical Author induction training course