Women in the Workforce: Thinking Beyond Borders in Recruitment
Entrepreneurial activity can be difficult to predict, but today’s trends have demonstrated that the increase of women in the global workforce is related to increases in growth, prosperity, and solutions to social problems. High female representation is often linked with overall success, hinting that having a diverse workforce is more than just “the right thing to do.” With a high percentage of female executives correlated to higher returns, it’s simply good for the bottom line.
However, since women’s presence in the workforce begins with recruitment, recruiters in particular must be careful of gender bias. While it’s promising to see many male-dominated industries such as engineering and technology targeting women, recruiters must be wary about their approach to recruiting and retaining, as even the most cautious company can end up with a discrimination lawsuit or complaint.
Job descriptions are usually the first point of contact for recruiters. Since it is always a good idea to ask a wide variety of people to review any text intended for public use, asking both men and women to review each job description is a great way to begin appealing equally to both genders. It may also be a good idea to separate “required” and “desired” qualifications, in order to avoid deterring a large majority of women who only apply to jobs they are 100% qualified for.
Interviews are the next place that recruiters should be wary of subtle bias. Employers can unconsciously expect male candidates to perform differently than female candidates without knowing anything about work experience, and when employers only had access to a candidate’s appearance, both male and female recruiters were twice as likely to chose a man over a woman. However, this bias can be avoided simply by being aware of it and taking steps to evaluate everyone on the same criteria. Knowing what qualities you are looking for before the interview begins can help immensely when comparing candidates post-interview. Make a checklist of all necessary qualities, and then ask yourself if the candidate brings any additional valuable traits after meeting the qualifications.
Compensation is another area that can be full of dangerous discrimination risks. Add in the fact that compensation is a major factor in recruitment and retention, and it is crucial that recruiters give this issue their full attention. Many feel that women earn less than men because they do not negotiate, but despite evidence that men and women negotiate at near-equal rates, there is still a compensation gap. Researching market rates before the interview and then tailoring the market rate based on experience, education, and skills will guarantee a fair salary range. Offering candidates a 10% increase in their current pay is a good standard, but researching market rates can help reverse any pay discrimination previously experienced.
While these tips make it seem tricky to avoid discrimination in recruitment, inclusion needn’t be difficult. Starting with a proactive company policy that appeals to a diverse group of candidates will usually pave the way for good habits and easy avoidance of gender bias without ruling out qualified males. It takes the efforts of great men and great women together to create prosperity and growth, and simply telling your recruiters that you are looking for equal amounts of qualified male and female applicants will bring both to your company. Economic growth through great candidates doesn’t necessarily guarantee gender equality, but great recruiters who follow these practices can help companies make a big step in the right direction.
PeopleScout, a TrueBlue Company, is a trusted global recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider offering full service support in nearly every industry & skill vertical. PeopleScout provides innovative RPO solutions including enterprise, full cycle, partial cycle & project RPO as well as Recruiter On-Demand™, a contract solution designed by PeopleScout. PeopleScout’s suite of services also includes employer branding, mobile optimization, sourcing, interviewing, Next Level™ candidate care, onboarding, ATS & CRM/Talent Community & reporting & analytics through PeopleScout Higher Insights™ for fully customized solutions. PeopleScout helps our clients make tens of thousands hires annually across a variety of industries & skill sets & improves quality of hire for companies with exempt & non-exempt hiring needs worldwide.