Many businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of having a diverse workforce. Companies are under more scrutiny than ever to show that their hiring and promotion processes are fair.
Unfortunately, women are still often underrepresented at every level, and women of color are the least represented of all. If you’re getting all male applicants, it’s important to redirect your hiring tactics to appeal to more female candidates and diversify your workforce.
Here are 5 reasons why you may not be getting female applicants to respond to your job listings:
1. You don’t have enough diversity on your staff in leadership roles.
If a woman applies for a job within your company and is interviewed by an entirely male panel, see only men on your website, and notice a mostly male workforce, it’s likely they’ll recognize the lack of female representation and feel like an outlier.
Seeing a sway towards men in leadership roles suggests there is a bias in hiring practices and the promotion process, whether that is deliberate or not. No talented woman wants to work somewhere where she will be overlooked for promotion or have no female coworkers.
To counteract this, you should ensure that all new hires and employees are treated equally both for promotions and during the hiring process. The pre-employment process, such as background screening and the number of interviews held, must be the same regardless of the gender of the person.
2. Your job descriptions use gendered terms.
Check your job descriptions. Did you use male pronouns when describing the person you wanted? ‘He’ was once used as a default, but in a more equal workplace, it looks out of place. Make sure your job descriptions use gender-neutral pronouns to avoid putting women off. You can use a gender decoder to make sure all gendered words have been removed.
Look out for language that implies gender, too. For example, using terms like ‘attacks problems’ or even the word ‘strong’ are often associated with masculinity, whether they should be or not. Instead, stick with gender-neutral descriptions that match a committed problem solver who is creative and works in a collaborative way. This will appeal to men and women.
3. Your workplace culture is male-centric.
Your workplace culture can attract or put off women. When women come in for an interview, they will notice when they were able to interact with a woman. If the receptionist and the person who brought them coffee was a woman, and then anyone in any authority position was male, this shows that women in the company are kept in support roles.
Further, almost two-thirds of women have experienced microaggressions at work, so you must stamp these out of company culture. This could include things like women always being the ones who make drinks or coordinate food for meetings, the ones asked to arrange a birthday card, and the ones who have their ideas questioned in meetings.
4. There isn’t much flexibility for pay/benefit negotiation.
Women are sometimes asked to prove their abilities more than a man would be in order to get a pay rise, promotion, or other benefits. Make sure you are creating an environment where all staff can grow on equal playing fields, such as offering more learning experiences for employees to grow their skills.
Encourage all staff to develop their skills and make sure you have a clear policy for benefits so one gender is not rewarded more than the other.
5. Your policies don’t have family leave benefits.
Women may be looking for positions where they can balance work and family life, so having family leave benefits is critical. In order to attract the best female candidates, you should have maternity leave policies that allow women to be flexible with work and family needs.
Beyond maternity leave, you can also attract women who are mothers by offering other family leave benefits. For example, put in place a clear and fair policy regarding time off needed to care for a sick child. Flexible schedules in the office and remote working can better allow women to manage childcare demands and other family commitments.
These are valuable policies for men, too, as many fathers take on large parental roles within the modern home. Any staff member with children will appreciate an effort to accommodate them, which can, in turn, improve employee morale and loyalty and staff retention.
As you seek to make your workplace an attractive place for women and men alike, more female candidates will be interested in filling roles within your company. By equalizing job descriptions, opportunities, and leave policies, you can make strides in diversifying your workplace and allowing more women to thrive in the workplace.