How to build a more gender diverse business, in 2022

Five ways to attract the cream of Britain’s female job seekers to your roles, and make your company a more equal employer 

At Woobe, we encourage, support, and promote women into all roles, at all levels of employment. If you have ambitions to make your company more gender diverse in 2021, here’s why you should! This article will help you start enjoying the benefits of becoming a more equal employer.

There are many ways in which you can improve the gender diversity of your business, thus reaping a range of benefits that come with employing a truly balanced workforce, and promoting the best possible working conditions, pay, and prospects for your staff.  

While no one action will result in instant parity between women and men in your workplace, there are many steps you can take to start a meaningful dialogue about gender diversity, and to begin devising and implementing strategies that will bring great results, over time.

How can my company build a more gender diverse workforce?

If your business isn’t quite as gender diverse as you’d like just yet, or if you know you have some way to go to achieve parity between the sexes, don’t despair! We all have to start somewhere, and it’s important not to begin by apportioning blame in your workplace. 

We’re all responsible, on some level, for the status quo, and we can all play a part in levelling the playing field for women and men at work, both now and in the future.  

Here are some simple steps you can take, starting today, to build a more gender diverse workforce for your business, no matter what industry you work in, and whether you have 10 or 10,000 employees. 

Develop a more inclusive recruitment process

If you want to attract a more gender diverse pool of candidates for a role, techniques like gender-blind hiring (removing personal information from applications during the assessment process) and writing job descriptions to be more inclusive (removing phrases with masculine connotations, like ‘aggressive’, ‘determined’, and ‘rockstar’) will help ensure that applications are evaluated purely for skill and experience, without unconscious gender bias creeping into the recruitment process. 

Studies have also shown that honing down your list of job requirements to a few key points will encourage more female applications, as women are less likely than men to apply for a role if they don’t feel they meet all of the listed criteria (some of whom would likely make excellent candidates for the role, even if they didn’t tick all the boxes during the application process). 

Offer flexible working arrangements 

As women are likely to be the primary carers for young children, and to provide ad hoc care for sick or aging relatives, flexible working conditions can provide vital support to allow them to avoid long career gaps, and – often – to stay in employment altogether. 

Men will also benefit from the addition of flexible working options, as they’ll be able to play a more active role in caring for dependents. Over time, a more balanced approach to flexible working should help to dispel the myth that caring responsibilities belong exclusively to women. 

And for women and men flexible working options help staff maintain a better work / life balance, which also improves productivity and cultivates a positive culture in the workplace, with less absence due to mental or physical ill-health. 

The definition of flexible working varies between employers, but usually covers things like being able to choose your own working hours, being able to work remotely, and being able to access shared parental leave, rather than traditional maternity or paternity arrangements. 

Narrow the pay gap

The gender pay gap continues to be an issue across the globe, with the World Economic Forum estimating that it will take more than 100 years to achieve equal pay for women and men in all countries around the world. 

There are a number of things you can do today to help eliminate this issue for the women of tomorrow. Firstly, when hiring for senior (and therefore better paid positions), make sure that an equal number of men and women are considered for the role. 

Secondly, improving transparency around salary at all levels of your company, at every stage of the recruitment process, will help make it clear to potential and existing employees that discrepancies in pay are not tolerated. This might involve establishing and clearly advertising a pay range for every position, or examining current salaries across the company, to make any necessary adjustments that bring female employees pay in line with males. 

Establish mentoring schemes

Mentors are a useful tool in boosting the confidence of new employees and helping them find their feet within a company, but many businesses fall short when it comes to mentoring female employees, who may be experiencing additional and complex issues through being a minority in the workplace. 

While all employees can benefit from good quality mentorship, the lack of women in leadership roles shows that women have so much more to gain from additional support in terms of personal development. By being assigned the right mentor, women can see that their career progression is being taken seriously by their employer, and will feel valued in their role, leading to increased productivity and greater commitment. 

Create a culture of diversity

To make sure your company achieves its gender diversity goals, work on fostering a workplace culture that embraces gender diversity, with all leaders within the company getting behind the mission (positive change is most likely to happen when it’s championed from the top). 

Management should also be transparent about any gender equality issues that exist within the company, and provide clear guidance on how they are to be tackled, setting internal targets that allow staff to see where progress is being made.

Put gender diversity on the agenda for all team meetings, and it will soon become an integral part of your organisation, and an everyday subject that isn’t considered awkward or even taboo to discuss. 

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