Although businesses are increasingly making public their intentions towards instilling diversity and inclusion, are they serious about it? After all, the gender pay gap currently stands at 17.3%. If you are looking for ways to take a stand and attract top female employees, this guide will tell you how, as well as offer advice as to how to nurture talent in young women.
The CIPD highlights the following challenges that prevent women from enjoying workplace equality:
● A lack of flexible working options
● Women being the main providers of unpaid caring responsibilities
● Occupational segregation
● The undervaluing of women’s work
● Pay discrimination.
Although this is a concerning state for the job market to have reached, it means there are benefits for companies that want to make a real difference. If you are genuinely committed to providing equal opportunities for female candidates, you will be able to attract the best talent on the market.
These tips tell you how to attract talented women to your company and how to nurture talent within the organisation.
How to Attract Female Employees
1) Be fair and open about your pay structure
The culture of secrecy around pay is how so many companies have managed to escape scrutiny for so long. But that is not good enough. We are in a situation now where unless you publicly state that you pay employees at the same level the same pay regardless of gender, many women will just assume that you pay men more.
The way to get around this is to make equal pay a central tenet of your business and let people know about it. The fact that people see you are taking a stand and a commitment tells women that you will not take their gender into account when discussing pay.
2) Employ women in top positions
If women can see that a company provides a career path toward leadership positions, they are more likely to want to join that business. Having a leadership team entirely composed of men tells female candidates that there is a glass ceiling for them and that progression is unlikely to be possible.
3) Provide benefits
Many female employees will take maternity leave, and if you want to attract the best female talent, you need to make sure your policies do not punish that. In fact, provide a generous maternity package so that women understand they are valued by the company and that you want to invest in them and encourage them to return to the workplace afterwards.
Another attractive benefit for women is a progressive paternity leave package too. It shows that you are committed to gender equality and that you understand that men being able to be more involved in childcare benefits everyone in a working family.
4) Embrace flexibility
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important flexibility is and how it is possible to be productive even if you are not sitting at your desk between nine and five every day. As CIPD pointed out, women often take the lion’s share of childcare. This means that an employer that understands that and allows employees to work flexibly, take time off to look after sick children, or work from home in some circumstances will be more likely to attract the best female talent.
5) Make the office a safe space
A recent government survey found that 29% of employees reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment in their workplace or work-related environment in the last 12 months. This is unacceptable and shows that many offices are not the safe spaces they should be. As the majority of these cases were perpetrated against women, unless an employer takes steps to prevent this they will struggle to attract female employees.
As an organisation, there should be a no-tolerance policy toward harassment. This requires punitive sanctions against perpetrators that are seen to be administered. Only when you can prove that you are doing all you can to make your workplace a safe space do you stand a chance of being seen as a viable option for women seeking work.
6) Think about the language you use
Many job adverts and other external communications are written in a manner that champions aggression. This may be subconscious, but could well put off women who might be exactly the right candidate.
Consider the words you use and think about what a range of candidates want to hear. Promote your inclusivity, your benefits policies, the potential for progression, and other requirements rather than encasing it in boorish language.
How to Nurture Talent
Once you have attracted female candidates, you need to know how to nurture talent within your organisation. Here are some tips:
To retain female talent, assign a mentor to them to help them develop within the organisation and progress into those leadership positions. This is a great way to support your employees and show your commitment to empowering women in the business. The mentor is there to advise and challenge the employee whilst helping them develop their skills.
● Encourage external networking
Joining forces with professionals in other organisations to network and share ideas helps introduce employees to new ideas and solutions to challenges. This is an important element of career growth and can benefit your business. Finding the widest possible range of influences will only help in the long run.
● Invest in career development
Rather than leaving employees to it, nurture talent by offering courses and training opportunities. The ability to hone skills and learn new ones helps the business, but it also encourages employee loyalty and retention.
How Ms Independent Helps
We work with businesses and a variety of organisations to create tailored and equally beneficial partnerships. Our ultimate aim is to empower the next generation of successful independent career women.
Working together, we transform the lives of young women. In addition, we help you improve your diversity and inclusion efforts, upskill your workforce and you also gain access to our research and data related to the development of young female talent in the workplace.
If you would like help with attracting female employees and how to nurture talent, find out more about our corporate partnerships and contact us today.