International Women’s Day on March 8th marks a day in the calendar to celebrate the incredible progress women have made in different parts of society, including the key role they play in economic life. Over the past few decades, women have made progress at all levels of the career ladder. But there is still more work to be done.
Last year we carried out interviews for International Women’s Day, where we chatted with the female leaders and entrepreneurs from the Tribe who run their own agencies and businesses. We showcased the actions these leaders take and the initiatives they champion to encourage equality and diversity in their workplaces.
This year, we want to take the opportunity to share some thought-provoking statistics on workplace equality and offer business leaders simple suggestions on how to make small changes in their organisations that will have a big impact.
There are many reasons why equality and diversity should be at the top of the agenda for organisations. We highlight a few of these reasons below.
More innovative mindsets.
Research by Accenture suggests that companies with greater equality in their workplace have significantly more innovative business mindsets. In turn this helps them to thrive and grow.
According to this research, if organisations want to thrive, they have to “get to equal”. In fact, employees’ innovation mindset is six times higher in the most-equal cultures than in the least- equal ones.
Accenture calculates that global GDP would increase by up to US$8 trillion by 2028 if innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10%.
An example of equality in the workplace is Mastercard, who boast twice the number of women in leadership as other companies in the S&P 500. Its stock soared over 35% in 2018, and the company is growing rapidly across the globe as it focuses on ushering in a cashless society.
Another interesting fact is that employees in the most-equal cultures are less afraid to fail.
Increased talent in the workplace.
Female talent in the workplace is essential.
According to CSG, women have become the new majority in the highly qualified talent pool; in Europe and the USA women account for 6 out of 10 university graduates.
Women also have great entrepreneurial potential. According to an IMF Whitepaper, women owned companies represent between 30-40% of formal small to medium sized enterprises in emerging markets.
Higher financial returns.
Lastly, according to research by McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.
Countless reports link the presence of female board members to significantly greater performance.
In research conducted by Catalyst, companies with the highest percentages of female board directors demonstrated a greater return on equity, sales and invested capital than those with the lowest; outperforming by 53%, 42% and 66% respectively.
What’s more, companies in which women make up at least 15% of senior management are 50% more profitable than those in which fewer than 10% of senior managers are female, according to Credit Suisse reports.
Make a change.
Here are five suggestions on ways to improve diversity and equality in the workplace.
1. Allow employees more flexibility.
Break down the barriers between part-time and full-time contracts to encourage more women to join the workplace. The Netherlands increased the female labour force participation rate from 35% to more than 80% over a span of 28 years, largely as a result of providing more attractive part-time work opportunities.
These kinds of initiatives don’t have to be female orientated. Flexible working hours will help your people get a better work-life balance and increase staff productivity. Changes like this can benefit your company as a whole. Many businesses are making this choice to improve general employee retention.
2. Create more opportunities for internships.
Create internship positions to attract a diverse, talented generation into the workplace, which as a result will bring more equality into the industry. Inspire your interns and give them the valuable experience they need to get started in their careers. Give them a mentor who can share their knowledge, give them guidance or help them grow their network.
3. Tailor your interviews and create salary plans.
According to CSG, research has shown that women are more likely to understate their experience and abilities when applying for jobs, so tailor your candidate interviews for female applicants. Focus on evidence and proof of abilities and pay extra attention to previous references. It might also be worth enlisting at least one female staff member in the interview process if possible, to highlight that your company already has women at senior level.
Create career and salary plans to secure equal pay and equal conditions, regardless of gender, ethnicity or race.
4. Open the floor to everyone.
Allow the people who are most prepared and responsive to tackle the issues at hand. For example, allow new hires to head client meetings if you believe that they can handle it. This can help to increase equality amongst your workforce.
5. Invest in your people.
Whether it’s giving your employees access to a new training course or organising a team Pilates class, these initiatives reflect your company culture and help you to attract the best talent.
If you would like more information on any of the stats provided, please email Elaine Miller at: .
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