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Recruiting women into policing: Experimentally testing the effectiveness of recruiting materials

NCJ Number
Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice Volume: 17 Dated: 2023
Date Published
21 pages

This study assessed the effectiveness of police departments’ job advertisements in recruiting women into policing. 


This study experimentally explored the effectiveness of job advertisements formatted similarly to popular social media platforms (Facebook Ads and short-form videos) and variations on law enforcement officer job descriptions. Results indicated that women-focused recruitment material significantly improve perceptions of motivation to apply, relevance, and positive perceptions of the material for women participants and that diversity-focused job descriptions improved perceptions of task and skill variety and diversity climate. These results, however, were only found for video advertising. Agencies should consider tailoring marketing material to meet the needs of different potential applicants and be sensitive to differences in marketing channels. Law enforcement agencies are struggling to meet recruitment goals and are rarely representative of the communities they serve. In particular, women make up just 12% of sworn officers despite the fact that women officers act in ways that are more consistent with community-oriented policing and use less force. Despite this, there are few evidence-based strategies that agencies can use to improve outreach and messaging efforts focused on improving candidate diversity. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023