How to Encourage Gender Diversity Through your Hiring Strategy

International Women's Day 8th March 2021

In 2020, the Global Gender Gap Report stated that based on the current rate of progress, it will take another 100 years to achieve gender equality. I will give you a second to let that sink in… 100 years.

This issue has been amplified even further through the pandemic and economic crisis, with a strong disproportion of woman losing their jobs and sectors with a high female representation such as hospitality and food services being hit the hardest.  

Whilst the importance of gender diversity in the workplace is something that we have been discussing for several years, it is clear that we need to be doing more to help bridge this gap. In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of gender diversity and looking at different ways businesses can encourage gender diversity through their hiring strategy. 

Benefits of Gender Diversity

Countless studies have highlighted the benefits of gender diversity, including increased financial performance, innovation, productivity and engagement.

Gender Diversity in Hiring Strategy-1

(2021, whattobecome.com) (2019, www.weforum.org)

Widen your Talent Pool

One of the first things businesses can do is expand their talent pool to ensure it includes a diverse representation of candidates. This not only applies to gender, but to all forms of diversity from age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities and sexual orientation.

When hiring for a role, it is easy to fall into the trap of focusing your search on similar candidates to previous hires. Whilst there are benefits of similar candidates, such as proven success in the position and company, by looking at various types of candidates it can bring new skills and fresh perspectives to your team.

There are a couple things you can do to help widen your talent pool. Firstly, check your job description and job advert carefully. You may not be aware of it, but certain words or phrases you are using could be having a negative impact on your diversity efforts. For example, using phrases such as “top-tier” “aggressive” and “mission critical” have proven to decrease the number of female applicants to job adverts. (www.nytimes.com)

If you want to find out more about the language you are using in your job adverts, Texito is a great online tool that provides insights into certain phrases and words. As they say, every word counts.

Textio

Another great way to expand your talent pool, is looking at different places to source your candidates. For example, there are many online groups that are aimed at women in certain sectors, such as Technology, Engineering or Finance. By doing a little research you may uncover a goldmine of potential candidates.      

Unbiased Candidate Assessment

We all know how important candidate assessment can be during recruitment, whether it is CV selection or the interview process. That’s why it is important to ensure there are no biased views that may be impacting the results. One way to reduce this risk, is creating a quantitative assessment criteria, such as a scoring system. This can be used for both CV selection and interviews. It reduces bias by ensuring all candidates are being measured against exactly the same criteria.    

During interviews it also helps to have set questions for all candidates and a diverse interview panel. This not only helps reduce discrimination, it also helps the candidate to feel more at ease during the interview process.

Move the Focus Away from Speed

When it comes to hiring, far too often the speed in which a position can be filled is put as the main priority. As a result, anything that may slow down the process is met with resistance. So not only can the importance of diversity be neglected, but even the quality and suitability of the candidate can be overlooked.

Whilst removing the focus away from speed is a lot easier said than done, there is a few things businesses can do to help relieve the pressure. Firstly, they can set out a hiring plan in advance. This allows them to schedule their time accordingly and keep an eye out for any potential candidates that they may need later down the line.

Secondly, build a strong team that is able to quickly adapt. If someone leaves your business unexpectedly, there is far less time pressure if you know that your team is strong enough to temporarily cope. However, this may not apply to all companies, for example if you have a particularly small team.    

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that more often than not, the benefits of having a diverse workforce, outweighs the extra weeks it may take to hire.

If you are looking for more ways to encourage gender diversity in your workforce, feel free to contact our team on enquiries@leap29.com or call us on +44 (0) 1625 537 555

Posted by Leanne Gilson-McGrath