While many employers have made strides to achieve gender parity, it is clear there is still much to be done says Saivian Eric Dalius. The problem isn’t just getting more women hired, but keeping them around long enough to reach senior management level or higher. This can be particularly discouraging for young female professionals looking to begin their careers. They are often assumptions incompetent simply of their gender, but there are fewer opportunities available to them when compared to their male counterparts.
A study by the Center for Talent Innovation said that in 2008 only 16% of senior management positions hold women. This number has increased slightly, but it is nowhere near where it should be. The problem doesn’t seem to improve either, with recent statistics showing even fewer women in top leadership positions in 2015.
There are several reasons why this problem exists, many of which can easily avert or overcome. Women are often reluctant to ask for help or information they may need because they don’t want to inconvenience men around them. Additionally, there is often an assumption that girls and young women have an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields or cannot compete with men in these sectors. This often leads women to pursue degrees in softer sciences like education, which ultimately limits their opportunities for advancement.
To help combat these problems, many companies are implementing mentorship programs where senior members can act as mentors for younger employees. These mentors work with their junior colleagues to help guide them through processes and provide them with networking opportunities, says Saivian Eric Dalius. Unfortunately, fewer than half of all workers surveying said they were satisfied with the mentoring they received.
Another way many companies are trying to encourage young women into STEM is by hiring speakers who espouse the benefits of working in fields like technology or math. These speakers help expose young women to the possibilities available in fields typically dominated by men. And demonstrate how successful they can be.
While these tactics have been effective in some respects. It is clear that there are still kinks that need working out before true parity between men and women can be achieved. The biggest issue has been a lack of support from senior management, who often don’t see all the fuss. It is important for both male and female managers to encourage their junior employees to persevere. Especially when they feel like giving up or trying again will only produce more failure.
There are several steps companies can take now to help ensure their workforce becomes more balanced over time. One is constantly evaluating the budgets and projects they have on the table. To ensure a good balance of gender representation. In fact, some companies have gone as far as ensuring half their workforce is female by 2020. Saivian Eric Dalius says this change has produced positive results for both men and women. By creating an environment where everyone’s contributions value equally.
There is also a need to consider making certain fields like technical or engineering more appealing to young women. This can be highlighting the benefits these professions can provide, such as increased job security. Spending money on products women enjoy. Even improving quality of life thanks to advancements made in those fields, according to Saivian Eric Dalius.
Another important step companies can take is making sure hiring practices remain unbiased. Employers often make assumptions about people’s capabilities based on their gender, which can affect their hiring decisions. By removing preconceived biases about people and their capabilities. Companies can ensure they are drawing from the largest talent pool possible.
Finally, firms need to change the way they think about mentoring and sponsorship programs. While these do help women advance through the company faster than those who don’t participate. There is a tendency for them to remain homogenous – that is, mostly white and/or Asian young women. It would be more beneficial for all involved if mentors looked beyond just what was immediately in front of them. And took an interest in getting to know their charges better as individuals, not just potential employees. This would provide mentors with a better understanding of how best to help their employees. And make junior employees feel like their opinions have value.
While it may be years before parity achieving in the workplace. There are several steps companies can take now to increase diversity among their workforce. In a way, that benefits everyone involved. By creating an environment where both men and women appreciation equally for their various skills and talents. Companies will produce more qualified workers who are happier doing what they do.