How to ensure senior positions attract applications from women
The issue of gender equality in the employment market remains prominent. Despite employers making a conscious effort to diversify their senior leadership teams, and level the playing field when it comes to gender equality, it seems that there is still much to be done. This is backed by the stats.
According to 2018 research from Catalyst, women hold 24% of senior roles across the globe, which decreased from 25% in 2017. But, there is improvement - in 2018, 75% of businesses reported having at least one woman in senior management roles compared with 66% in 2017.
But the research found that there are still no women in senior positions at 25% of global firms which indicates that more needs to be done to improve gender diversity. Improving gender diversity on the Board can start with candidate attraction in the recruitment process.
Recruitment Grapevine spoke with Chris Stappard, Managing Director at Edward Reed Recruitment, who shared his top tips for attracting women into senior positions.
Consider your job advert
Stappard said that job adverts should appeal to women at face value. One way that recruiters could achieve this is by having a photo that includes men and women to illustrate gender balance.
“You also need to make sure that the text holds their interest. I recommend avoiding words that make the role sound competitive, as these appeal more to men, and instead focus on the collaborative nature of it,” Stappard added.
2016 research from Texico analysed how vocabulary can influence the gender of an induvial that is being hired by an employer. The findings showed that words such as “exhaustive”, “enforcement” and “fearless” appeal more to male applications, while phrases such as “transparent”, “catalyst” and “in touch with” are viewed as having more of a feminine tone. So, consider the words that you use as well as how it lands.
Offer perks and benefits
Stappard recommends employers consider offering flexible working or the ability to work from home to make jobs appeal to women with young children. That way they aren’t having to choose between family life and having a career.
Aside from flexible working policies, some employers have upped their paternity leave offerings, or introduced Shared Parental Leave (SPL) which are key for supporting female progression.
Kate Palmer, Associate Director of Advisory at Peninsula told HR Grapevine said that granting men equal time off to look after children will promote equal opportunity for women to access more senior roles in the business.
She added: “Steps were previously taken in the UK to aid fathers with childcare through the introduction of Shared Parental Leave which looked to provide working parents with the option of sharing the woman’s maternity leave period.”
Offer a competitive salary
Finally, Stappard said that another way to attract female candidates to senior positions is to offer a competitive salary. “One great way of making your jobs appeal to women is to offer a competitive salary that visibly strives to close the gap and moves towards equality.”
Despite this, 2019 gender pay gap figures revealed that a quarter of companies and public sector bodies have a pay gap of more than 20% in favour of men. One British MP said that organisations still have a “long way to go” with almost eight in ten companies paying their male staff more than female counterparts.