There has been a growing interest in increasing diversity in the workplace, driven in part by research by companies such as McKinsey, who have highlighted the benefits that companies gain when they have a more gender diverse workforce. According to a recent Harvey Nash/KPMG Survey, just 10% of Tech leaders in the UK are women, in contrast to a third of board positions now in FTSE 350 companies being held by women, highlighting the urgency for Tech companies to catch up.
Part of the challenge is there are not enough women being promoted to be considered for the more senior leadership roles. Diversity should not be planned as a project but instead become part of the culture. We need to embrace, empower and encourage women not only into the Tech sector for the first time (as well as other under-represented parts of our society), but also recognise the need in some cases for additional support to help women up the leadership ladder. Some of the top areas your business can help include:
5 Top tips for promoting gender diversity in the workplace
- Ensure there are highly visible female role models to show there are no ceilings to career advancement
- Actively hire early in career females from non-traditional hiring methods such as directly from schools (apprenticeships) and non-tech degrees such as Psychology or Geography
- Provide mentoring in the workplace. Ensure potential self-limiting beliefs are banished and support ambitious employees to reach full potential. A growth mindset is essential for this.
- Encourage and support networking opportunities such as membership of WIT, especially opportunities during working hours, as often females have more family commitments then males outside working hours.
- Provide flexible working opportunities including working from home, and hours worked, part time and flexi-time.
The benefits evidenced by research such Mckinsey, include increase in company profits and performance which can be close to 50 percent higher when women are well represented in leadership roles. Females are found to create a positive impact on a company’s culture. They are more likely to create and embrace democratic policies that support employees, and develop products for clients that are more relevant. Women learn nurturing skills from an early age and are more likely to demonstrate empthy and consider strategies that serve and are considerate of others needs. Women are more likely to create an environment of innovation as they are keen to challenge the status quo, and they tend to have a lower ego to consider opportunities that serve a greater purpose, which in turn supports employee retention strategies overall.
Consider what your business can do to support a greater gender balance and ensure that women truly have the support needed along their career path to achieve leadership roles in your business.
Carlene Jackson, IAMCP UK D&I Lead