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Offer clear career progression to attract and retain women

Posted on Friday, May 5, 2017

Hays USA Gender diversityAccording to the recent Hays Gender Diversity survey, American women are equally ambitious to men, but are twice as likely as men to be dissatisfied with their current seniority, and 20 percent less likely to say they are able to promote themselves at work.

Respondents reported that 79 percent of organization heads are men, as are 68 percent of line managers. So how can organizations improve gender balance in leadership, and find policies to help retain all top talent?
It is well known that organizations that both recognize and harness the different experiences and opinions of their workforce outperform those that are less diverse and inclusive.

These organizations are also better placed to attract and retain talented professionals. At a time when skills shortages are an increasingly critical issue across many industries around the globe, companies need to take action to increase access to the recruitment of diverse, talented individuals.

In our third annual Hays Canada Gender Diversity report we once again shine a light on some of the reasons why women, who represent a very significant proportion of the existing and future workforce, often experience very different and sometimes lesser career opportunities to men.

While we have seen slight improvements in perceptions of career opportunities year-on-year, the perception of pay equity has gotten worse and in many cases employers are still not doing enough to narrow the gender divide in the workplace. While the gender of a line manager should have no impact on male or female employees, employers need to be aware of the effect that a male and female line manager can have on how employees feel about their perceived ability to self-promote, their career opportunities, and pay.

Furthermore, as management and senior roles are still typically male-dominated, there is a lack of role models which can be detrimental to female ambition. As this report has shown, a female line manager increases a woman’s perception of equal pay and equal career opportunities. Companies should be aware of the importance of role models to female employees.

According to gender equality lobby group Catalyst, one-third (31%) of US companies have no women in senior leadership. This is despite international studies that have shown that businesses with better gender equality in senior leadership and on boards outperform competitors. If US organizations want to succeed in the long term and continue to drive growth, then business leaders must ensure they are tapping into the full talent pool, including groups that have been marginalized in the past.
Employers need to recognize the commercial and societal benefits of a more gender-diverse workforce and prioritize actions that will improve gender diversity. Additionally, men need to recognize that there is a significant difference between men and women’s perception of gender diversity and they must be willing to tackle these issues. Without backing from male colleagues, it will be much harder to work towards gender equality in the workplace.

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