Recruiting women in the workplace: a leadership gap

Content Team

Recruiting women in the workplace, and promoting them as leaders, continues to be a key business challenge for many enterprises worldwide.

Just ask Jenny Milner, a talent resourcing manager for Hudson RPO. Jenny delivers talent solutions for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of our key clients.

She recently participated in a panel of senior women IHG leaders. During the event, Jenny was asked: “What is the best advice you would offer women who want to excel in their career?”

Her answer, she says, is simple: Believe in what you do and say.

Jenny Milner, a talent resourcing manager for Hudson RPO
Jenny Milner, a talent resourcing manager for Hudson RPO, says self-belief is key to career success.

“Men will typically look at a job title and feel they are the right fit,” Jenny says.

“Women, on the other hand, will read a job ad. They’ll then call to ask questions about the job. If they have any doubt in their ability to perform all aspects of the role, they won’t apply.”

Nurturing self-belief is key to recruiting women in the workplace, particularly at senior levels.

Promoting more women in senior roles

Women comprise just under 40 percent of the global workforce, according to 2018 data collected by the World Bank.

This represents an overall upward trend for Europe, the Americas, and APAC, since 1990.

However, there’s still work to do in terms of placing more women in senior management leadership positions.

Women in an office
Global trends reveal a gap in the number of women vs. men in senior management.

Women are underrepresented at senior levels, according to the 2018 and McKinsey Women in the Workplace study. Within corporate America, as an example, for every 100 men promoted into management, only 79 women became managers.

This inequality is hitting the talent pipeline.

According to the study:

“If companies continue to hire and promote women to manager at current rates, the number of women in management will increase by just one percentage point over the next ten years. But if companies start hiring and promoting women and men to manager at equal rates, we should get close to parity in management—48 percent women versus 52 percent men—over the same ten years.”

Financial performance links to gender diversity

Companies must act on the opportunity to improve gender parity in management. Financial performance links to these metrics.

Average relative returns increase in correlation to gender diversity, according to research by Morgan Stanley. And profits grow by six percentage points for companies whose executives number at least one in three. That’s according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. You can learn more about both insights here.

Beyond financial performance, there exist plenty of more reasons to act. Diverse representation is known to drive employee engagement, which in turn drives the bottom line. Gender representation also helps ensure diversity of thought when it comes to problem-solving and innovation, both of which are key to success in a crowded market.

Progress and perseverance

Across regions and countries, various efforts are helping to reduce the gender pay gap. A range of anecdotes illustrate how the dial is starting to shift, says Leah Burdick, vice president of global marketing for Hudson RPO.

In the United States, for example, some states and localities now prohibit recruiters from requesting salary history. Meanwhile, California has become the first US state to require at least one woman to serve on the board of a public company.

Canada, for its part, trails the US in terms of gender diversity at board-level. Given the nature of that economy, a deeper commitment to diversification is required of smaller firms and the resource sector.

Iceland offers a notable example of outcome-driven compliance and equality. In an effort to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2022, Iceland recently made it illegal to pay women less than men. Iceland continues to rank No. 1, worldwide, for gender pay equality.

Leah says: “These examples open our eyes to the work that remains to be done in terms of placing more women in senior roles. That begins with supporting women to achieve their professional goals from the start of their career.”

Discover a range of strategies to improve gender diversity in the workplace.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Download our Latest Guide