From the Women’s March to the Time's Up movement, the topic of gender equality is more prevalent than ever. Employers can play an instrumental role in feeding the momentum of these conversations by helping to facilitate change in the way women are hired and offered opportunities for professional growth. Between demographic shifts and advancements in technology, there’s a heightened urgency for employers to innovate and restructure their brand, culture, and recruitment methods in a manner that attracts and engages a diverse talent pool -- with a specific focus on more gender-inclusive practices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, labor force participation among women peaked in 1999 at 60%. Since then, there has been a gradual decline, with numbers skirting just below 57%. Several components, including aging baby boomers and a greater focus on obtaining a college degree, are guiding this downward trend. Now more than ever, employers need to realign their hiring techniques to better appeal to women job seekers.
Want to improve the way your company attracts and recruits female workers? Here are a few tips.
Keep Your Language Gender-Neutral
The unconscious use of gender-biased language in job descriptions and recruitment practices often deters female job seekers from even applying for a job. Words can single-handedly shape how people interact with your brand and dictate whether your corporate culture is a hot commodity or viewed as uninviting. After conducting research to examine the gender pay gap, Glassdoor found words like “ninja” and “rockstar,” as well as aggressive language, like “dominant’ or “competitive,” are male-oriented terms. Using gendered language (even if it’s unintentional) can dissuade quality female hires from submitting their resume.
Create a Robust, Female-Friendly Benefits Package
Does your company cover prenatal care and family planning? What does your maternity leave policy look like? By offering benefits that are more attuned to women's needs, like remote work capabilities, flexible work schedules, or onsite childcare, you’re demonstrating the value you place in your employees, which will improve both your recruitment and retention rates. According to the Harvard Business Review, better health, dental, and vision insurance top the list of benefits job seekers find the most desirable. When pressed further, a majority of job seekers noted that health benefits are a key determining factor in whether or not they accept a job offer.
Give Your Brand a Facelift
In today’s technology-driven landscape, job seekers no longer just submit their resume to any company that’s hiring. They consult with Google, who spits out a sea of resources via company reviews, social media pages, and websites, ultimately providing job seekers with the ammo they need to determine whether or not an opportunity is worth applying to. With this in mind, your brand’s online reputation can either strengthen or weaken the pulse of your recruitment efforts.
How you present your culture and values to your digital audience can either make a compelling case for joining your team or paint an unappetizing picture in the minds of no-longer-interested job seekers. While your online presence should be riddled with personality and creativity, you should also be cognizant of the wording you choose and strive to maintain language that is balanced or gender-neutral.
Promote Your Female Leaders
By spotlighting women who hold leadership roles or showcasing the accomplishments of your female employees, you will naturally attract the same caliber of talent. There’s a certain magnetism for female job seekers when you invest time in recognizing the successes of women in your organization. Many women appreciate the opportunity socialize with other female coworkers and value seeing a woman in an executive position who can act in a mentor capacity. Female workers want to see that an employer is committed to providing women with professional development opportunities, clearly placing value in their ability to contribute to the success of the company.
Small Changes, Big Results
In the pursuit of greater corporate innovation and creativity, employers must work towards diversifying their workplace. Today’s tight competition for talent requires a comprehensive recruitment strategy that uses forward-thinking tactics and interacts with potential candidates through multiple channels. Attracting quality hires across all demographics should be an ongoing conversation within your organization. Women in particular, are drawn to employers that advocate for women’s causes, encourage flexibility and work/life balance, provide an enticing benefits package, and openly support their female leaders.
Qualified and talented female workers are all around us. If your struggling to attract women, it’s time to reevaluate your recruiting practices and begin incorporating some of these strategies.