How to Improve Gender Equality in the Workplace

3 min read

According to WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency), “workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender”. A workplace with gender equality means better organizational performance, enhanced reputation and the ability to attracts more talents. Unfortunately, there is still a lot to improve. In the US, the average woman’s unadjusted annual salary has been cited as 78% to 82% of that of the average man’s. Read our article about how to improve gender equality in the workplace.

Did You Know That:

At an average level of innovation intensity, the presence of a woman in top management amounts to creating extra market value for each firm of approximately US $44 million

Dezso, C L and Ross, D G, 2012

A diverse workforce tends to produce a more holistic analysis of the issues an organisation faces and spurs greater effort and motivation, leading to improved decision-making

Centre for Ethical Leadership, 2013

There is significant evidence from across the globe demonstrating the positive impacts on company performance of female representation on boards, in executive management and senior leadership

Centre for Ethical Leadership, 2013

Increased gender diversity on boards and senior executive positions is associated with better financial performance

Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, 2014

Companies with low representation of women and other diverse groups were 29% more likely to underperform on profitability.

McKinsey & Company, 2018

Source: WGEA

The studies clearly show that the diverse workplace has a big influence on the company’s performance. Therefore unbiased hiring is one of the biggest challenges in recruitment – bias is not always conscious and explicit

We need to continuously engage and educate our recruiters around the topic of unconscious bias. Specifically, building awareness and training recruitment team members around its inevitable presence in human nature. Repetition builds retention. Through creating awareness, recruiters will become more self-aware in ensuring they are objectively evaluating the talent pool.

We have all been raised differently and brought up with varying value systems and cultural beliefs; a recruitment climate that cultivates equal opportunity for all candidates should be part of our personal mission and value, as well as our employment brands.”

Libby Herrmann, Client relationship manager, Wilson HCG

Recommendations

To support gender equality in the workplace, we prepared an overview of the recommendations to avoid bias during the recruitment process. 

Make Your Hiring Process Fair for Everyone

Use standardized selection tools and procedures that are good predictors of future performance. 

According to Science for work:

Choose methods that are resistant to bias and will provide you with clear information about applicants’ qualifications. Structured interviews and job knowledge tests are good examples.


Consider “blind recruitment”

“Blind recruitment” is a practice of removing the information that points out to age or gender of an applicant. Big names like HSBC, Deloitte and the BBC have decided to proceed with it.

It’s quite an exciting thing for a company to do, to completely rethink how it’s going to hire based on the things it needs because ultimately the business wants to do better. That’s the whole point of all this: to hire better people, the right people to make the business move forward.


Azmat Mohammed, Director General, Institute of Recruiters

Use the Language in Your Job Postings Carefully

Did you know that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the criteria on the job posting, but women apply only if they meet 100% of the requirements (Hewlett Packard internal report, 2014)? So, if you want to attract more female talents, consider which skills are required and which are just an additional plus and make it clear in a job posting.

Analysis from language tool Textio found that the gender language bias in your job posting predicts the gender of the person you’re going to hire. Use a tool like Textio tool or the free Gender Decoder to identify problem spots in your word choices. Examples: “Analyze” and “determine” are typically associated with male traits, while “collaborate” and “support” are considered female. Avoid aggressive language like “crush it.”


Glassdoor 

Ask the Same Questions to All the Candidates

Use templates for questions. Here is a source with some great examples.

Did you know that women in the UK are more than three times as likely to answer illegal questions regarding their status or health during the job interviews? Asking about planning family, health, marriage, weight and habits is not only inappropriate but also illegal in many countries. Make sure that your questions are the same both for male and female candidates and that they are being asked to predict the future performance of a potential candidate.

In 2015, Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chef of the World Economic Forum, wrote the following words and there is no better summary than that.

People and their talents are among the core drivers of sustainable, long-term economic growth. If half of these talents are underdeveloped or underutilized, growth and sustainability will be compromised. Moreover, there is a compelling and fundamental values case for empowering women: women represent one half of the global population—they deserve equal access to health, education, earning power and political representation.


Interested in recruitment? You’ll find more useful articles here.

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