Hiring to Narrow the Gender Gap

Gender equality blog

You glance through a stack of resumes.  You are impressed by the relevant, applicable experience you see. Education levels look great, too.  You decide to set up interviews.

But now, let’s be brutally honest.  Do you look at the gender of the candidates before choosing who to interview?  What if you’re hiring for a marketing job vs. a role in IT?   Would it matter if you were looking for an upper-level manager?

Your company probably employs plenty of women.  There’s no reason to think about the topic of gender inequality.

But is there?  Are there as many women in positions of power in your company as men?  Do women doing the same work receive the same level of compensation?

Is your company doing anything to purposely, actively narrow the gender gap?  How could bridging the gap actually benefit your company?

It’s 2019…Have Things Changed?

International Women’s Day. The Me Too movement.  Women’s advocacy groups.  Has there been any progress in recent decades when it comes to gender equality?

It’s hard to say.  Studies can be biased.  But in looking at several recent ones, it’s easy to see that there remains at least some evidence of gender inequality, especially in regards to pay and women being hired for higher-level positions.

CBS News reports that as of March 2019, the gender pay gap remains stuck at women earning 80 cents for every dollar that men earn.  The Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that this drops to 50 cents on the dollar if you take into account part-time workers and those taking time off for caregiving.

A study from the nonprofit Forte Foundation which surveyed 900 executives found that female MBAs earn 28% less than their male peers (Anne Fisher, Fortune).  This gap represents about $59,000 in annual pay.

Other studies conducted with fake resumes (resumes identical except for gender or age) show that both age and gender are factors in resume response rates (Pender, SF Chronicle).

In regards to women working in corporate leadership, the World Economic Forum’s research shows that “women represent fewer than 50% of leaders in every industry analyzed- and in some fields, such as energy and mining or manufacturing, the representation of women is far lower, with women holding fewer than 20% of leadership positions.”  The forum also notes that women hire more women.

What Can Companies Do

In 2018, General Motors was named the world’s best company when it comes to gender equality (reported by Equileap).  It earned this distinction by having a female CEO and an equal number of men and women on its board.  It also implemented pay equality across all levels, from low-level employees to top executives.  It has policies in place to prevent sexual violence and has flexible work locations.

Many believe a company’s focus on gender equality should start with the CEO.  If the CEO is on board and makes equality a priority, hiring managers will follow suit.

Tracking and analyzing salaries is another proactive approach companies can take. Elissa Sangster, the Forte Foundation’s CEO says, “Some big companies already do an amazing job of closely tracking and comparing their high-potential people throughout their careers, to make sure they are compensated appropriately at each step.  But many employers are still not doing this at all, and they risk losing highly skilled female talent.”

How Do Companies Benefit from Gender Equality?

A recent study on business and diversity by McKinsey & Company found a positive correlation between gender diversity on executive teams and key measures of financial performance.  Measuring diversity is now starting to be a key financial metric for investors (thehill.com).

The National Association of Women Business Owners explains the many benefits of gender equality in business.  These include varied viewpoints, strengthened communication, fostering a positive work environment, and gaining a great company reputation.

Our Own Daughters’ Futures

How can we better lay the foundation for our own daughters? It’s a question worth asking.

Artemis Consultants can help businesses make their hiring initiatives a reality.  Please visit our website for information on the many services we provide.

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