Over the past five years, there has been an 8% increase in U.S. leadership positions for women. If things seem to be improving, why make such a big deal about female leaders in the workplace? Do we need to make any changes?
60% of junior leadership positions are held by women
50% of mid-level managers are female
20% of senior management are female
10% of executive-level leaders are women
5.1% of S&P 1500 organizations have female executives, according to Pew Research.
Notice a trend?
If women traditionally score higher on emotional intelligence markers, that could make them more effective leaders, and they are entering the workforce at the same rate and with the same level of experience and qualifications as men; why do men seem to keep moving up while women lag? What can you do as a business owner to ensure equal opportunity and accessibility for women to reach their leadership goals?
1. Start on the right foot:
Be aware of historical gaps in pay between men in women who possess the same qualifications and base your hiring decisions on education, experience, and market rates for compensation versus the applicant's pay history.
Consider assembling a hiring board or committee to gain insight from a more inclusive group of individuals who can weigh in on the applicant interview. Thus, providing transparency in the hiring process, encouraging team member inclusion, and showing potential employees that they are applying to be part of a cohesive and diverse organization.
2. Provide support:
Align potential female leads with mentors and coaches who regularly advise on career goals, roadmaps for new opportunities, and professional development advice. Also, be aware that you need to allow time away from their daily jobs to take advantage of mentor meetings, coaching opportunities, and supportive reintegration and training programs, especially if they are newly returning to work after a family leave or other obligations.
By September 2020, 80% of people who had to leave their job due to COVID-19 were women. The strain of WFH, childcare, and homeschooling made keeping up with a 40-hour workweek almost impossible. Let's make sure women have the support and flexibility they need to reintegrate into the workforce successfully.
3. Distribute work evenly:
Be sure that women are assigned tasks that will bring profit or growth to the company, leading to promotion opportunities. Not just busy work or menial spreadsheets that will help the office stay more organized.
Research has shown that women are assigned 55% of work projects as opposed to the 45% allocated to men. Even though women are also proven to be 10% more productive while shouldering this higher workload, the quality of plum-picked projects given to men often lead to quantifiable returns for the company, giving them a leg up for promotion.
5. Take a close look at your company culture:
Is your team accepting and inclusive? If not, send an explicit message that women's skills and leadership are valued and reinforce that your goal is to foster a culture of gender inclusion. Make it office policy that team members reject the widespread assumption that women who take time off for caregiving are less committed. Providing this psychological safety allows the female employees to focus on their work and not what others might think of them.
Having women succeed in your workplace should not be just about meeting a quota but instead really understanding the returns women continually prove they can bring to organizations when given the opportunity. When women are in leadership roles, corporate financial performance improves.
15% more likely to generate returns above the averages for their respective industries.
16% higher return on sales when women are on the board of directors
26% higher capital investment returns when women have a seat at the table.
Let's see more of those numbers.