How can businesses improve gender equality in the workplace?

Business Support | Economy & Politics | Employment & Skills | National

Ammad Ahmad, Founder & Managing Director of Atheneum Partners

Written by Ammad Ahmad, Founder and Managing Director of Atheneum Partners

Gender equality in the workforce has rightly been a hot topic for many years, with specific challenges such as the gender pay gap and the percentage of women in leadership positions particularly causing debate across industries.

As the number of women in the workplace rises, so too does their economic independence and their engagement with businesses as partners and consumers. With this increase, we should expect to see a rise in the representation of female clients in both B2C and B2B positions.

However, the greatest contributor to the gender pay gap is cultural industry segregation – where women and men largely pursue careers in separate industries with entirely different salaries. In Atheneum’s network of 450,000 experts in Life Science & Healthcare, Energy & Utilities and Consumer Goods, around 20% are women – showing the need to open up opportunities for more women in these fields.

In junior level positions, women make up an average of 33% of the workforce. This drops to 15% at senior level and, eventually, a startling 9% in CEO positions, highlighting that businesses are struggling to retain their female workforce. Businesses can utilise external business intelligence to help outline a clear career ladder, nurturing talent to convert more female employees to their next career level.

Similarly, businesses should openly state that they are actively seeking to employ women and support their career progression in order to recruit and retain more women.

It is integral that businesses diagnose and address any issues they face when it comes to tackling gender inequality. Employers must build a culture that counters gender bias and offers a structure with practices in place to negate bias.

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