Why you should be seeking out gender diverse workplaces for your next role.
If you’re not thinking about gender diversity in the workplace when choosing your next role or carving out your career path, you could be missing a trick. After celebrating International Women's Day recently, we’ve pulled together the top 3 reasons why gender diversity in the workplace can be a career booster.
Firstly though, what is gender diversity? Gallup paper “The Business Benefits of Gender Diversity”, defines it as when “men and women are hired at a similar and consistent rate, are paid equally and are given the same working opportunities with the same promotional opportunities.”
If you think we’re there already then, you’d be wrong. Globally, women make up only 23% of people in national parliaments worldwide - as just one workplace example - and women, on average, earn 25%-40% less than men who do the same job.
So how can seeking out gender diverse workplaces give you the edge and help nurture your career?
1 . Gender diversity is about making sure women progress to leadership and senior roles. By seeking out a workplace that champions gender diversity at every level, you’re more likely to be selecting a working environment that recognises and actively challenges the biases that hold women back from senior roles.
Sarah Haran customer, Amanda Jones is Global Women’s Advancement Director at legal firm Dentons. In her role, she’s responsible for increasing the number of female partners and women in senior leadership positions in the firm, globally.
As she puts it, “We know that women are in the majority in entering the legal profession, but the numbers decrease in the more senior roles. My job is to identify the causes and seek to remedy this.”
And when it comes to what’s holding women back from leadership roles, she has this to say, “I don't think women hold themselves back from leadership roles, I think the systems that are in place, where there are conscious and unconscious biases ingrained in those systems, have prevented women from being promoted to the levels and in the numbers that their talent and experience would justify.
“So, when we talk about promotion to senior positions, people are so used to seeing men in those positions that women are often overlooked.
“When we talk about merit, we talk about the skills and experiences those at the top have, so we don't look for different experiences or skills which those who haven't reached leadership position have and often undervalue them.”
We love Amanda’s approach. Imagine having a workplace with an advocate so well-versed on the biases facing women and how to overcome them, in what’s an often-misunderstood topic.
2. Gender diversity creates workplaces with better collaboration and team processes. Plus,an acceptance of different perspectives where creativity can flourish. It’s shown that having women on teams can help improve team processes and boost group collaboration.
Not only have researchers observed that women are stronger at reading non-verbal cues, but groups with women are better at taking turns in conversation, which helps make the most of the knowledge and skills of all the people in group, not just the loudest.
In addition, having both women and men on teams mean that you benefit from the different perspectives they bring, which can help to spark creativity and innovate.
How can this be a career boost? Well working in an environment where your talents and opinions are welcomed – not quashed by the loudest voices in the room – can help you to develop your ideas and find your voice earlier than otherwise.
It can also help give you the confidence to do your best and leave you feeling more motivated and fulfilled at work, in a role where your input is valued.
3. Gender diverse businesses outperform those that aren’t. Study after study finds that gender diversity has a positive impact on business performance, with greater profitability being just one of the markers.
McKinsey has found that the most gender-diverse companies are 21% more likely to experience above average profitability. While Gallup studied more than 800 business units from two companies and found that those with gender diversity were up to 19% more profitable.
Working for a better-performing company can have a strong positive impact on your career, not least in working for companies that are more likely to be market leaders – and all the benefits that come with this. But also, giving you a career boost when it comes to the benefits of job security, high morale and superior internal procedures.
Seeking out gender diverse workplaces, or advocating for them in your current role, is something all women should be thinking about.