#MeToo Movement Sheds Light on Gender Diversity Gaps In Employer Brands
More than ever, workplaces are being held accountable for how equitably women are
treated. It seems that a day doesn’t pass without new and disturbing allegations of
sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. Every week we hear of gender pay
gaps. From movie studios to boardrooms, it’s clear that we have a long way to go
before women are accorded the equity and respect that they deserve, and that is
required for organizations to attain ongoing success.
As a female-owned business, whose clients span many industries, we see firsthand that
companies continue to run a significant deficit in terms of woman leaders – not only on
boards, but on a staggering number of executive teams. The research also supports our
According to Catalyst, a non-profit CEO watchdog, only 5% of S&P 500 companies are
led by women. Even more concerning, is that a Fortune 500 study published roughly 9
months ago, indicated that women make up just 20.5% of senior management roles.
With more than 73% of global firms indicating that they have an equal-opportunity policy
in place (International Labor Org), policies are not enough to shift the brand and culture.
Until we get these numbers more balanced, the programs, policies and succession
plans will never achieve true gender diversity.
While the data strongly demonstrates a clear link between a company’s gender balance
and its financial health, it is confounding that in 2018 the gaps are still so wide.
One of the most telling reports on the matter was published by the McKinsey Global
Institute in 2015. They found that if women and men played an “identical role in labour
markets,” a total of $28 trillion would be added to the global economy by 2025.
Therefore, the #TimesUp movement should not just be viewed as a feminist one alone,
but a financial call to action from shareholders and boards as well.
As you can see, there is good reason that diversity is on the top of the priority list for
many organizations. To ensure that it is not just an HR practice, but deeply entrenched
in the employee experience, and culture, it really needs to be built into the
organization’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and Employer Brand.
Blu Ivy Group conducts research with thousands of workers and job seekers across
North America to understand what different demographics are seeking in a workplace
culture and career. We also seek to understand the key reasons that talent
demographics are leaving their employers. Regardless of industry, there are
staggeringly consistent messages shared from female workers between the ages of 30
and 50 about why they are leaving their employers:
- Lack of WorkLife Balance
- Feel That They Can’t Be Authentically Themselves
- Not Provided with The Same Development Opportunities as Peers
- Paid Less Than Peers for Equal or Greater Work
- Location of Workplace
- Lewd Comments and Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment complaints abound on employer ranking sites like Glassdoor. They
can be seen across industries. Technology companies, law firms, financial services,
professional services and consulting companies, pharmaceuticals, home builders, retail,
and the restaurant industry all experience these challenges. From a recruitment
perspective, we know that roughly 80% of job seekers aged 35 and below use
Glassdoor as one of the top three places they go to research a company before
applying. These complaints do not go unnoticed. Executive search companies and
potential clients are also using Glassdoor with increasing frequency to screen potential
executive hires and to select potential vendors.
A study by the Society for Human Resource Management determined that by 2022, employee retention will be HR’s dominant challenge.
What steps can your organization take to make a rapid and lasting impact on diversity?
Start with building or evolving your Employee Value Proposition. If you want to make
diversity and women’s leadership a priority, build a segmented EVP that really
addresses this demographic. Work with a vendor to uncover what your biggest threats
are in this space and be prepared to listen and act with immediate leadership.
An EVP should reflect an organization’s commitment to equality, work-life balance and
empowerment. As part of our work with clients on their Gender Diversity Strategy,
we’re helping them develop EVPs that are specifically tailored to a diverse
demographic. These EVPs help to articulate an offering that attracts women and
provides guidance on how to improve the organization as a place where women want to
work, contribute, and stay – and thereby builds a brand that reflect the realities of high
performance working women.
Ensure that your communications strategy is tied to that segmented EVP and this
demographic. Speak to them personally, not just as a policy. Leaders should be
addressing the focus, the goals and the improvements in diversity and gender equity
with regularity and in a genuine manner.
Many of our clients who have been recognized as a top employer for women have
implemented some of the below best practices. Provide multiple ways for your talent to report harassment allegations. HR management
alone is often seen as a bottle neck.
Increase investment in mentorship programs for high potential women starting at the
management level. Facetime is critical with senior leaders for both development and
networking. Check on how many of your high potential women have executive
sponsors. Track how often those sponsors check in, offer guidance and support. Set
targets and know what success is expected to look like for that role.
Establish women’s peer networking events in your company. They are a great way for
women to connect in the workplace and coach and mentor each other. It is a great
place for them to feel supported and learn from each other on matters both at work and
for managing life outside of the workplace. Encourage participation from new hires,
interns, management and executives alike.
Implement ‘Managing Bias’ training programs for newly promoted managers, and
performance reviews that address their leadership in this area with consistency.
Work from home and flexible work programs are the new norm. If your company does
not have a generous program, now is the time to break those barriers. Lead with the
idea of supporting families in your work culture. Encourage individuals to share how
they can best get their work done. Encourage them to set boundaries in terms of when
they will respond to emails in the evenings and on weekends.
Make a commitment to pay equity across the board. In the UK, companies are now
required to publish a gender pay gap audit. In an article published by The Guardian on
Feb 28 th , a woman who works at a global investment bank in London highlights how she
went onto the site and discovered that women’s median hourly rate is 43.5% lower than
male colleagues and that women’s bonuses are 73.3% lower. If an organization is going
to make an effort to be a best workplace for women, truthfully a best employer then they
had better be prepared that the demand for transparency and equity in pay is required.
It’s an exciting time – not without its discomfort and uncertainty – one which we believe
will lead us to a better world for women, for men, and for future generations. It is also
one that will result in tremendous financial returns for business.
As part of our ongoing commitment to gender diversity at Blu Ivy Group, we’re excited to
be working towards our certification as a woman-owned business, which will officially
make Blu Ivy Group a diverse supplier. Supplier diversity is becoming more and more
important to ensure companies are procuring their goods and services from suppliers of
diverse backgrounds, and we’re proud to add our name to the list of organizations
taking part. A business that’s at least 51% owned and operated by one or more women
is considered a diverse supplier, and we certainly meet those criteria!
If your employer brand strategy does not have a segmented EVP for women, if you
know that your turnover numbers for women aged 30 – 45 is an issue that needs to be
addressed, or if you are looking to be a best employer for women, contact Blu Ivy Group
to help with your Employer Brand. We are happy to provide an assessment of your
current strengths and threats. Call us at 647-308-2352 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.