Female participation in the labor market across the globe is declining. According to a World Bank research report, the women’s labor force participation rate is 48.5%, whereas the rate for men is 75% in 2018.
In this article, I will deliberate upon ways to minimize this gender gap and sexism in the workplace by allowing more female employees to join the workforce.
Offer flexible working hours
By allowing flexible working hours to women, companies can help them maintain a work-life balance and enjoy a fulfilling career. In a global culture that is rapidly becoming 24/7, this initiative will result in better well-being, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced productivity.
Remote working, a form of flexible working schedule, is also gaining momentum. It has grown 140% since 2005.
It is interesting to note that women have more leadership roles in remote companies as compared to traditional brick and mortar ones. According to a study conducted by Remote.co, 28% of remote companies have women CEO and presidents.
Eradicate sexism in the workplace
Sexism in the workplace (both overt and subtle) is the most blatant irritant for female employees. From sexist remarks to workplace sexual harassment and gender bias, obnoxious sexism takes a toll on female workers’ retention.
According to PewResearch.Org, 42% of working women in the USA say they have faced job discrimination because of their gender.
It is, therefore, vital to create zero tolerance for any type of gender discrimination and sexism within the organization. Promote this as one of the most positive attributes of your company’s culture and that will surely result in the female talent pool and higher women workforce retention.
Provide a clear path to advancement
If you claim to be a company that offers equal opportunities for both sexes, it should be reflected in your career development policy with a good number of female employees working in senior management positions and leadership roles. On this front, the corporate sector has still to do a lot.
The following stats from McKinsey & Company 2018 report about women in the workplace depict a sad picture.
- 29% of women believe their gender will be an obstacle to advancement.
- A quarter of women (unlike only 8% of men) believe that their gender has actually played a role in missing out on a raise or promotion.
- Men hold 62% of managerial positions whereas women hold only 38% and it gets worse higher up. (Women are just 22% of C-suite executives).
The companies should have strengths of both the genders by putting women at its executive boards. Susan Lucas Conwell, the Global CEO at Great Place to Work® say that women tend to lead from an interactive and cooperative style, bringing different perspectives based on a different set of life experiences. This broadens the executive board’s insight and making it more agile.
See Also: Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace
Make sure the women are paid fairly
A discriminatory salary structure that results in lower pay to women for the same task performed by their male counterparts is downright obstructive. It’s a waste of talent and skills from equally capable women with such an unjust system. The salary structure for female employees must be competitive and based on performance.
Have a hiring model that engages female talent
Your hiring methodology should never send negative signals for women applicants. If you are conducting an informative session about your company to prospective female employees, you need to consider following points seriously:
- The session should be led by both women and men. More importantly, women should not be appearing in supportive roles only, such as welcoming participants on the entrance or distributing brochures and leaflets.
- Try to include women speakers in the panel of speakers, explaining the core functions of your business.
- Don’t project images with only men as active players like soldiers, technicians, pilots, etc. The women will be less engaged with these types of presentations.
Hiring good female talent is like fishing. If you can’t fish, it is not the fish to be blamed but your lack of good technique.
Avoid gendered job description
Women perceive a job from the language used to describe it. If you want to establish a more gender-balanced workforce then try to avoid using male-oriented titles like “Super Hero” or “Rock Star”. Instead, use descriptive titles that sound neutral .i.e. Project Manager, Developer, etc.
A Hewlett Packard report reveals that women apply only if they meet 100% of the job requirements. Men, on the other hand, apply when they meet only 60% of the qualifications.
The companies should therefore only include must-have requirements rather than too many nice-to-have requirements.
Hunt female talent through colleges and professional organizations
Every organization wants the best of the talents. In this pursuit, the best female talent can be hunted at professional organizations and colleges. A Harvard and Tel Aviv University studies revealed that companies that recruited from targeted women’s colleges managed to increase their number of women managers by 10% within 5 years. This targeted hunt will provide you the high performers.
Does your business name need to be changed?
This question is more pertinent to startups.
The mistakes when naming a business startup often hinder its growth, let alone annoy prospective employees. Take Reebok’s women’s running shoes brand ”Incubus”, for instance.
It failed miserably because, in mythology, Incubus is a devil that rapes women in their sleep. Hence, it is crucial for startups to revisit their name. If it has an obscene or negative connotation in some other culture, change it before your operation and hiring process begins.
Arrange mentoring for female employees
The mentoring must be made a priority if your company wants to attract more women applicants, as well as to retain them after being hired. Assign some senior managers and executives to conduct grooming sessions at lunches and breakfasts.
During these sessions, women should be encouraged to ask questions about personal and career-related issues. The mentors will then provide guidance about best management practices and developing the necessary skills to perform a job.
Provide the right information
More often, one-size-fits-all information about the job does not work. HR needs to provide other information points to attract female applications. For example, informing about the proportion of female employees is helpful to show that diversity is encouraged in your company. Also, it influences how women employees rate the company in terms of the work environment. This micro-targeting will result in better response from female job seekers.
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