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Including women in the workplace is proven to make a company more productive and profitable, but hiring them and getting them into leadership roles is often easier said than done. There are a number of cultural and psychological factors that companies must be aware of and actively mitigate in order to create greater gender diversity throughout their company.
According to Harvard Business Review, women are 16 percent more likely to be hired for a job they apply to, but 16 percent of women are also less likely to apply for a job after reading its description. Creating a gender-balanced talent pipelines starts with companies focusing on how they can get more women to apply to their job listings. One simple remedy is that listings need to be written in a manner that encourages women to apply, and to expand the range of titles you’d consider hiring from. As women, especially women of color, are less likely to be promoted, they often have similar skillset than their male peers, but lack the matching title.
Writing less aggressive job descriptions that provide a clear depiction of what candidates can expect counteracts the confidence gap which has shown that men will apply for roles after meeting 60% of the qualifications, whereas women will only apply if they meet close to all of the qualifications.
Another vital component to a job listing is that women prefer to know the salary range for the position, as well as the benefits. Compensation information is 10 percent more important for women because it shows the company is more likely to pay fairly and avoid wage gaps. Other ways to appeal to women applicants is to profile or highlight current women in various job positions at the company. By displaying a company’s gender diversity, more women from a wider pool will be more likely to apply.
Once a woman has applied to the role the company needs to optimize how she moves through the hiring process. The Harvard Business Review found that an applicant pool with only one woman will give her a statistical chance of zero to be hired for the position. It also found that candidate pools need to be 50 percent diverse to give diverse candidates a chance of being hired at all.
By including more women in the candidate pool, women no longer appear to be an outlier with inherent risks. Though some may call this affirmative action, the Harvard Business Review points out that women are more likely to graduate from college than men and they also outnumber men in the workforce, therefore aiming for an equal number of male and female candidates would actually be in a man’s favor.
According to a 2020 McKinsey & Company report on women in the workplace, women have made significant strides towards equal representation. Within the past five years, the number of women in senior vice president roles grew by five percent. Additionally, women C-suite positions increased by four percent.
However, both the Covid-19 pandemic and the “broken rung” phenomena are causing those prior gains and improvements toward women in leadership roles to fall. Fewer women are being promoted to manager within companies, which is discouraging and causing progress to lag. The 2020 McKinsey & Company also pointed out that up to two million women have left work due to family needs, further setting back women’s equality in the workplace.
By following the steps outlined in this article companies can take action to bring women back into the workforce. What steps will you take?