Globally, more women are finding themselves in senior management roles, growing to 29% in 2019 and remaining the same in 2020. The same research also found that 87% of global midmarket firms have at least one woman in a senior management role and this is a positive step forward if we want to change the equilibrium and step towards a more equal workplace and working world.
Women Leading in Several Business Areas
Presently, most women find themselves in senior roles in traditionally female departments and roles. According to the International Labour Organization, women are overrepresented in areas including administration, while men are more dominant in areas such as research development and profit and loss, areas considered critical for the chance to step up to CEO level. Similarly, the Grant Thornton Women in Business 2020 found 40% of HR directors are women but this percentage drops to 17% of chief marketing officers and 16% of chief information officers.
Attracting Women Leaders and Improving the Percentage of Women in Management
There are ways and means businesses can do more to attract women leaders and upskill and develop female talent within their team. Consider the following ideas.
Address the Challenges Women face in Leadership
Female leaders should be provided with the experiences and resources needed to learn and develop in their career. This could include specific guidance for on-the-job learning as well as arranging additional relevant training and development courses. Your organisation and management must have a clear understanding of the requirements in different leadership roles, so you can provide adequate training and pathways to the senior career employees are working towards.
Assess Unconscious Bias
Gender equality in your workplace should be made a priority and you should assess policies within your workplace. Look for ways that unconscious bias impacts opportunities and in turn, motivation in your female employees to aim for higher roles within the company. Talent management is a key area where you look to make changes and regular meetings and appraisals give you the chance to understand the motivation and aspirations of your employees. Managers should always ask rather than make assumptions about what employees want from work.
Consider Women-Only Leadership Programmes
Female-only initiative and programmes can be contentious, but they are an effective way of giving employees the chance to experience leadership training and experiences in an engaging way. You may also find some female employees are more comfortable in women-only environments and can learn more in this space.
Build Safe Networking Spaces
Many women do not feel comfortable in the traditional and sometimes cutthroat world of networking. Networking does become important as you move up the career ladder and creating open and accessible networking environments where women feel comfortable and able to put themselves out there is key to this. Relying purely on women-only events is not enough and more should be done to make other networking environments more accessible and open to all. While women are still the minority in senior roles, progress is being made and it’s up to individuals and organisations to champion a more equal workplace.