Companies bleat that they can’t attract female talent
Here are 8 quick fixes to attract female talent to your organisation
#1 Understand how women approach job search
Most recruiters and executive search specialists think men and women have the same approach to their careers, and job search in particular. They need to revisit that idea. They don’t. You need a different strategy.
Research suggests that women tend to explore internal opportunities before external ones, which means they need a high-touch approach to be brought into any external hiring process. Some executive search specialists have said it takes as many as 8 calls to convince a woman to put themselves forward as a potential candidate. We have definitely not found that, but they are certainly more cautious. Women prefer feedback from network connections and are less likely than men to use job boards. This makes them more difficult to reach. It’s important to build trust in all interactions.
#2 Be clear about benefits
Work life benefits are important to everyone, so it’s best to advertise any benefits around flex and remote working at the beginning of the process. Many women feel worried about asking and fear they might be penalised if they do. They are right to do so. They usually are. Offer a clear policy on flexible working. No one wants to spend hours a day sitting in traffic or feel guilty if they have to leave early. Also talk openly about parenting leave so that women who maybe planning a family feel that they can maintain their career without penalty and with support. Whatever you do, don’t ask illegal interview questions.
# 3 publically champion gender balance
Women leave and are not attracted to toxic cultures. Joining a gender balanced and diverse organisation will be a key part of your employer branding. Check your policies of inclusion. Make sure your key meetings are held in core hours and your events and other functions are not male coded. Women notice the decor in the breakout room and the pictures of the all male board on the reception walls. Make sure all of this is visible on your website.
#4 Be transparent on pay
As information on the gender pay gap becomes more widespread making sure that they are compensated fairly and equitably is highly important to women. Make any steps you are taking to ensure parity visible and in the public domain. The #TimesUp movement has put gender pay top of mind for most women and if a business wants to attract female talent then proven action in this area is critical.
#5 Share your career opportunity policies
Women consistently report being shut out of “old boys” networks and thereby missing out on key networking opportunities. Make mentoring and sponsorship programs available so that women have the same opportunities for promotion as men.
#7 Showcase your wins
Highlight your success stories in the public domain via social media and web site. Women will research you.
#8 Have role models and advocates
Women can’t be what they can’t see and hear. So they need female role models to be highly visible. Make sure your male allies and managers have had unconscious bias training so that they can lead inclusive teams with greater respect and empathy.