International Women’s Day is an opportunity for individuals and companies around the world to focus on empowering and creating equality for women in all walks of life. In a professional context, building a workplace where women thrive, and their achievements are celebrated will need businesses to create an inclusive culture that fosters a sense of curiosity and encouragement.

Adamson & Partners has made creating a business with a balanced and diverse workforce and leadership team a strategic priority – and we actively support our clients to do the same. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance” meaning that diversity and gender-balance in businesses not only creates a stronger culture, but ensures business profitability and output.

Recruitment and hiring practices are the starting point to finding the best talent and cultivating this balance. Ensuring that female candidates are aware of career paths that are open to them and what your company can do to help facilitate individual working requirements is a key first step to attracting female talent.

Highlighting your culture is equally as important – as is ensuring that it is open, supportive and inclusive. Showcasing company-wide equality initiatives and interviews with female colleagues can help candidates to see that they will be placed on an equal footing and supported to thrive both personally and professionally.

In addition, being cognisant of unconscious bias is also crucial when it comes to sourcing and hiring talent.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission describes unconscious bias as “the views and opinions that we are unaware of. They affect our everyday behaviour and decision making” and that they “are influenced by our background, culture and personal experiences”. When applied to the workplace and hiring, these biases can affect our judgement about potential hires for the business, making us overlook pure talent and experience, and discounting candidates based on their background or gender.

To help overcome unconscious bias, consider removing gendered wording from your adverts. Studies have shown that some wording in job advertisements discourage female candidates from applying. The use of ‘masculine-coded’ language, for instance, “driven”, “active” and “confident” have notably fewer female applicants. Intriguingly, ‘feminine-coded’ words such as “honest”, “support” and “interpersonal” did not discourage male candidates from applying.

It’s a business imperative to eliminate unconscious gender bias as it can lead to the best talent being overlooked, which can have a negative effect on staff retention thus costing businesses millions. Furthermore, it can mean lower levels of female representation at senior and managerial levels, despite results and evidence showing that higher representation of women at board level can create a more profitable organisation.

The world is evolving and so is business. It’s never been more vital for women to have equal representation throughout all areas of businesses, especially in STEM-related careers: science, technology, engineering, and business. Women are now leading the way and taking their place with other genders, driving business and society in new and positive directions, where they were once overlooked and left behind the glass ceiling. It’s now for us to change.

If you are looking to develop your business, we would be delighted to assist. Whether you are looking for your next career opportunity, help expanding your team, or assistance with mergers and acquisitions, contact us today for a confidential discussion.

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