The case for more women in leadership roles could not be stronger. Evidence shows that the more gender diverse a company is at director level, the bigger the impact on bottom line. Yet, sadly, in the UK employers still have a lot to do to get more female senior professionals on board.
Vince Cable has started 2014 by getting behind the movement – he’s encouraging the country’s top companies to press on with female recruitment at board level – the link between this and economic recovery is clear to see.
The momentum is building and we at Pure don’t want employers in the East of England to miss out on the benefits. So we’re offering some advice to anyone who wants to ramp up senior female recruitment.
Getting more women into senior roles can be amazingly motivating – not only does it mean they get the opportunity to achieve great things, but younger female employees are inspired to commit to their own careers. Where there’s passion and drive, there’s also loyalty and high standards. This can only be good for business!
But how can your organisation get women into the senior executive positions? We can help with a few valuable pointers…
1. Set up a mentoring programme
Asking senior female staff to mentor younger women in your organisation can create huge benefits. Not only does it unlock talent among junior employees, but it can also boost their confidence if they are intimidated by the journey to the top. Advice and a sympathetic ear matched with a professional attitude can be a powerful force in creating our future female business leaders.
2. Get buy-in at senior level
Sadly many smart women tend to leave work when they’re at they’re professionally at their most valuable, so it’s essential to get senior-level buy-in to adapt your company’s culture so it accommodates and drives them on, rather than limits their options. Top-level staff must help give women the tools and space to work their way up –– so they can expand their experience.
3. Encourage support networks away from work
There’s no doubt that even in 2014, staying at work after having children for many women is very tough. Those who choose to return to work find it a constant juggling act. A woman’s family and partner can help out – whether it’s being flexible with childcare or being positive about her career, it’s all fantastic support.
4. Work with the right recruitment consultants
If you’re recruiting senior executives in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk, make sure your recruitment agency totally understands your mission. They can help you find more female job seekers - especially in industries known for being mostly made up of men such as technology, science and finance. So ask your recruitment firm for a balanced short list of male and female candidates. We are being asked for this by an increasing number of our clients!
5. Understand the reasons
If you don’t know why women leave the workplace or fail to climb the ladder at your organisation, you can’t build a solid action plan. Do they struggle attending important meetings if their child needs to be picked up from school at the same time? Do they lack confidence in getting their ideas heard among more extrovert colleagues? Or are they put off going for promotions if director jobs are mainly occupied by men? Dig out the root causes and find positive solutions.
This is just a taster of the kind of advice Pure has to offer! Look out for more information on our website about our Women in Leadership Programme in partnership with People and Performance which is designed to develop your talented, aspiring women leaders and equip them to evolve your culture and work with you to remove the workplace barriers to gender equality.
Click here to find out more information about the Women in Leadership Programme
Lynn is a founding Director of Pure and leads Pure Executive with over 25 years recruiting for Executive appointments. Lynn supports East of England-based businesses with senior management and Board level recruitment. Lynn leads the Best Employer Eastern Region Initiative and the Women In Leadership Programme both of which are aimed at helping companies and people to develop.