We want to hire more women – but we don’t seem to be able to!
Despite overwhelming indications that not just companies, but global economies would benefit by TRILLIONS if they committed to hire more women, numbers stay resolutely low especially in key sectors. Many organisations see a high level of intake at lower levels, but then struggle to replace women further up the ladder when about 30% of leave corporate life. Research conducted by Deloitte suggests that by 2020, only 16% of Millennials expect to be at their current company. Read: Freelancing is a female issue.
If companies really wanted to hire more women they would!
Here are 7 tips to hire more women
#1. Strengthen your employer brand
Your employer brand features in every element and touch point of your organisation. This starts with photos of male boards in your reception area, to a mission statement on your web site. Make sure that male coded messages no matter how subtle are made gender balanced. Have a clearly visible equal opportunity message making a commitment in the public domain to hire more women . Use photos of professional women on all your product promotion and advertising. Note not glamour models.
#2. Assess your selection process
Analyze your recruitment process for messages and wording that causes women to self de-select. Are you still looking for a “dynamic high achieving , confident, self-starter…..” then you need to reframe that message. There are a number of technologies that can help you to do this. Textio and Gender Decoder are very useful tools. This may only serve to delay the bias but at least it’s a start.
Make gender balance a KPI for those with P & L responsibilities. Link your bonus system to meeting those KPIs. You will be surprised how those senior men will respond to that particular carrot. Make sure your hiring managers have had unconscious bias training and use an organisation such as 3Plus which specialises in identifying female candidates who are often more difficult to trace and attract.
Read: Women matter: Why gender balance is smart
Male candidates are the low hanging fruit, easy pickings, but not always the best. Women are less visible, attend fewer networking events and tend to under sell their skill sets. Make sure your staff are properly trained.
#4. Decrease your presence based culture and increase flexibility
Women are still responsible for 80% of household tasks. Offer flexibility and remove any barriers to promotion and long-term retention as well as professional development opportunities. Offer remote working, flex-time and return-ships. Avoid meetings outside core hours when many women have childcare responsibilities. Make sure your male employees take paternity leave without fear of career penalization and can participate in the same benefits.
#5. Nominate Female Brand Ambassadors
With senior women as the brand ambassadors, they can create a high visibility image on your market. It might be at networking events, conferences, in the media, in schools, universities or business schools. Sponsor and support programs that advocate for the advancement of women. Women’s networks are much maligned but they can offer support in many situations. Read: 6 ways women’s networks work. Women can’t be what they can’t see and hear.
#6. Promote internally and early
Identify top female talent early. Offer mentoring programs at entry-level onwards. Many companies start these initiatives way too late, when women are already starting to be discouraged. When external candidates see this it will be a tick in the right box. Many pundits say that women are over mentored and under sponsored. This might be true in large companies, but in SMEs this is simply not the case, especially in male-dominated sectors.
#7. Close the pay gap
As details of the gender pay gap gains greater traction, nothing would be more attractive to potential female hires than knowing that your company is an equal pay company in the real sense of the word. Implement this policy for all new hires. If there are any retrospective anomalies to be dealt with mandate to dealing with those as soon as possible.
What else can you do?