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Is 2015 the year for gender equality in the workplace?

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The issue of gender equality (or inequality) in the workplace has grown in momentum over recent years, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reporting a narrowing of the gender pay gap from 10% in 2013 to 9.4% in 2014.

Gilpin Gender image 1Although these results show a notable progress in occupational gender politics, more still needs to be done to speed up the process and completely eliminate gender inequality in everyday employment.

According to the Chartered Management Institute, female executives on average earn £10,060 less than their male counterparts and will receive half of the bonuses.

Pay is not the only issue with gender equality. In the UK the percentage of women on boards of major companies is still lagging behind, with only 20.7% of FTSE 100 boards incorporating female representation (Davies Review Annual Report 2014).

With this said, it’s no wonder why attitudes amongst female executives are directly affected. According to latest figures by telecoms company O2, one fifth of women in the UK believe it is impossible to obtain a top job and almost half of working women (45%) believe that there still aren’t enough women in senior positions in their company. Furthermore, 48% of the 2,000 surveyed said they believed all the decision makers in their firm were male.

However, recruiting a gender equal workforce is not just fair but is proven that it benefits business by creating an environment which has high team morale, a good reputation and ability to recruit top talent.

Equality in the workplace also leads to productivity levels being solely measured on individual talent and occupational contribution, therefore motivating employees to openly engage with the company in a more positive way.

Employers must always recruit the best applicant for any desired job regardless of gender or circumstance if they want their business to succeed. But to reduce the problem of gender imbalance and to benefit a business,  there are a number steps an employer can take to ensure recruitment is fair and equal:

  1. Make gender equality part of your training. Highlight the importance of this right up through the company, and make everyone aware. This can include a section on gender equality within the employee handbook, or offering training courses for employees to attend.
  2. Proactively welcome women. Make it clear that you want to hire, support and promote women. Salaries, promotions and bonuses should all be monitored and evaluated on a regular basis to ensure equal treatment.
  3. Be flexible. Making flexibility and work-life balance a part of the wider company culture is important. Too often employees have to specifically ask for part time work or to work from home, which can be awkward for both the employer and employee. Instead, ensure you can offer a broad range of different options to suit you both.
  4. Don’t limit your talent pool. Always aim for a 50-50 gender split in all teams, right up to executive level. Having the right attitude, such as offering practical support like childcare is important. It shouldn’t be a ‘career killer’ for a man or woman to ask for extended leave to look after a child.

For more information on the services provided by Gilpin Executive Search, please contact us on: +44 (0) 28 9076 9900 or visit our website www.gilpinesd.com

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