How can we promote gender balance in the workplace?
Women in the workplace has been the subject of many academic, political and social papers over the last few decades. Despite the seemingly continual spotlight on the topic, there is still a disparity in the number of women working in industry and risk sectors compared to men.
Statistics on women in employment
According to a House of Commons briefing paper of March 2021, the most common sectors for women’s employment in the UK are health and social work, wholesale and retail, and education. In the health and social work sector, 78% of jobs are held by women. In education women hold 71%.
A report published by industrial components company RS Components, states that in construction 13% of workers are women, in manufacturing it’s 26% and in mining, energy and water supply it’s 23%.
Leading engineering group, British Engines, tells us that 11% of the UK engineering workforce is female, accounting for just 5% of registered engineers and technicians. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
Interestingly, the same report claims that companies are 15% more likely to perform better in an environment of gender diversity. There’s a disconnect here somewhere!
Are businesses doing enough to redress the balance? As a recruiter, what strategies do you have in place for promoting gender balance in all aspects of the workplace? What can you do to facilitate change in your organisation?
How can you redress the gender balance in your workplace?
Simply aiming to recruit more women into specific roles won’t work! Instead, workplace culture has a major part to play in promoting gender balance. Women face different pressures to men in terms of their priorities. Society still applies pressure on women to put family before their work with 72% of women feeling conflicted when balancing work and family life.
Women need to feel supported at work and encouraged to take jobs with significant responsibilities without fear of limitations, particularly in industrial and high risk sectors. Changes in workplace culture will encourage a positive and optimistic mindset in women looking for challenging careers.
- Increasing opportunities for flexible working will make more women feel supported, particularly if they have a young family
- Equal opportunities for professional development or higher-level work need to be open to women just as much as men
- Employee networks for women will promote inclusion. FedEx launched the UK’s Women’s Inclusion Network (WIN) in 2019 to provide a platform for sharing experiences and cross-learning to support career progression and development. The success of this initiative has resulted in its rollout across Europe
- Encourage feedback and open dialogue for women to be innovative and express ideas and suggestions that might otherwise be shut down in a male-dominated work environment.
The benefits of gender diversity
According to the Centre for Creative Leadership:
- Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on boards financially outperform companies with the lowest representation of women
- Gender-diverse teams have higher sales and profits compared to male-dominated teams.
A survey by the Centre for Creative Leadership found that having a higher percentage of women in the workplace leads to:
- Increased job satisfaction
- Enhanced loyalty
- Less burnout
Can we help?
At Monarch Personnel we help our clients to recruit on mindset and review their company culture to attract the best candidates.
If you’d like to learn more about our approach, and how this all ties in with our philosophy that ‘mindset matters’, please get in touch.