Career Woman

How can companies boost female staff retention?

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Career advancement in the corporate world has historically been more challenging for women. The gender gap is by no means a thing of the past, with global male salaries and male leadership opportunities overshadowing those of their female counterparts. According to Marketing Week, “the pay gap between male and female marketers has widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017”.

There are many reasons why these differences need to be addressed. Apart from the injustices experienced by female employees, there’s evidence to suggest that companies are also on the verge of suffering from the repercussions of gender imparity. For one thing, women bring a very different set of skills to the workplace to men. They learn better, they communicate better and they are more engaged as both employees and leaders. What’s really interesting though, is that a large proportion of female professionals have begun to take a different approach to inequality issues in the workplace.

Why should companies want to retain female staff?

Women are abandoning the corporate world, leaving the stresses of fighting for equal pay and equal opportunities behind them to set up on their own and become the competition. A closer look at Australia reveals that one in four Australian startups are led by women and between 10% and 18% of venture-backed companies are also founded by women. Tired of being ignored, the astute female professional has decided to go it alone and, with all those professional business skills to hand, she’s bound to make a success of it. With the dynamics of gender imbalance in the workplace taking an interesting turn, it has become more important than ever for established companies to make a serious effort to keep hold of their female staff.

Surveys

One way of increasing the retention of employees who are to blame is to run regular surveys. They give employees the chance to express thoughts and concerns, allow company management to provide relevant feedback and generate the data necessary to see where improvements and changes can best be made.

Equal pay

As mentioned previously, the reality is that women still don’t benefit from equality of pay. There’s no reason why a man should earn more than a woman who is working in the same kind of role, with the same responsibilities to attend to. While disparities in pay continue to plague the corporate world, women will become more open to the idea of working with startups or investing in their own businesses.

Women in leadership

As well as creating programs for female employees that provide constant professional development and training opportunities, women need to feel inspired by other women in leadership roles. In Australia, data reveals that only 34.1% of senior management roles in 2015-2016 were held by women. It can be very demotivating for female members of staff to work in an environment where there are no female leaders to aspire to or learn from. It can also create the impression that the company is only interested in promoting male leaders.

Flexibility

Again, even though this is a fairly obvious one companies seem to be loathe to make the necessary adjustments. Women who have spent the best part of their lives focusing on their careers are more likely to consider beginning a family between the ages of 30 and 40.

Having spent their 20s learning the ropes, gaining experience and working they way up the professional ladder, they suddenly find they have to choose between their professional and private lives. According to MarketWatch, in 2016, “for the first time ever, there were more women in their early 30s having babies than younger mothers”. Few companies really embrace the idea of flexible leave, flexible working hours, or the idea of offering remote working possibilities.

A particularly innovative idea would be to assign a maternity buddy to women with young children so that they remain thoroughly connected to the business’ developments without having to be at the office and so that they can then make a smoother re-entry into full-time work when the time comes. There are so many ways in which flexible work conditions, like those that coincide with school holidays, could be incorporated as part of the perks of any business in order to benefit both female employees and their employers.

It’s time to be more creative when it comes to female retention. Women are demanding it.

About Jackie Edwards

jackiee@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie Edwards now writes on matters relating to business, money and family finance. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues

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    1 Comment

    1. bethhudson48@gmail.com'

      Beth

      September 23, 2017 at 4:46 am

      These are great tips for all employees! There are men these days that are family-oriented around 30 years of age, as well. I think the key here is to encourage horizontal communication from the very beginning! Surveys are an awesome idea. It’s also key to hire people objectively by using collaboration and HR tech to reduce the probability of gender biases swaying hiring decisions. Thanks for sharing these tips and starting the conversation!

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