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Embracing Equity: Women in the Workplace

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Recruitment is tough. It takes hard work, resilience, and dedication. It can be a competitive environment, and it’s not always easy to make your mark. Given how often recruiters have to deal with let-downs and rejection, empathetic leadership could help to keep morale high. 

Evidence shows that female leaders make companies more empathetic. Statistics prove that employee engagement is 6 times higher under a female manager. Despite this, for every 100 men in recruitment promoted to managerial level, only 79 women are promoted. And almost a third of recruitment firms have less than 5% female leaders at the board level.

So, what can recruitment companies do to throw off their “boys’ club” reputation? How can they create an environment where women feel able to contribute and can flourish?

This is about more than just banishing the office banter. If you want to compete to win the best female talent, you have to consider women's health, career growth, and pay equity.

Here are 5 crucial areas for employers to consider:

Period Leave

Did you know medical professionals have discovered period pain can be as painful as a heart attack? So, it’s not surprising that period leave is now entering the conversation. Companies are recognising the need to support women during their cycle. Even a day or two of leave per month can help women who suffer from severe menstrual cramps or related issues. It shows that your company values women's health and can reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation. Promoting open conversation about women's health at work will help to create a supportive environment.

Menopause Support

Menopause is completely normal. Every woman, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, will experience it. It can cause headaches, migraines, heart palpitations, muscle and joint aches and pains, and debilitating hot flashes. Having an understanding of, and empathy for, menopause symptoms is crucial for managers wanting to create a supportive environment. For example, offering flexible work arrangements to accommodate symptoms, and access to resources like counselling or sponsored medical support. 

Maternity Leave

Many companies, even smaller ones, are now offering enhanced maternity leave packages on top of SMP. Enhanced maternity and paternity packages can have a huge impact on those with families and can help to ensure that women’s careers don’t stall when having children. But it’s also important to provide flexibility when it comes to returning to work. Offering options such as part-time work or a phased return can help women transition back into the workplace. Childcare packages can also make a massive difference, as for many, paying for childcare to return to work can be financially challenging and often unviable.

Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is a persistent issue in many workplaces, and it’s an issue that can only be solved by pay transparency. Conduct regular pay audits to ensure that men and women are being paid fairly for equal work. Create a transparent pay structure and always state salaries when recruiting. Have a clear and transparent benefits package that includes benefits for all employees.

Women in Leadership

As we’ve mentioned, women are underrepresented in recruitment leadership roles. Having a clear progression path for every employee is crucial. Progression plans shouldn’t be negatively affected by flexible working arrangements or maternity leave. Women don’t need extra training or mentorship to be great leaders, they simply need to be given the opportunity. Make sure that women have equal access to promotions and set clear, quantitative criteria for gaining those promotions.

Embracing Equity

You won't achieve an equitable workplace for women with extra mentorship, or by paying lip service to new policies. If you want to embrace equity, the first thing that you have to do is address the gender pay gap. And if your response to having a large pay gap is that you have more men in leadership roles and more women in lower-level roles, then that’s also something that you'll need to address.

Beyond that, taking a holistic approach to the health, career growth and wellbeing of women in your workplace will help all employees feel valued and empowered to succeed.