The commercial imperative for realising women’s potential in the workplace is clear: gender equality enhances employee engagement, boosts productivity, meets the diverse needs of customers and suppliers, and improves brand reputation.
Despite this, women are still underrepresented in the higher paying, higher status jobs and industries. There are more women on company boards than ever before, but they still only make up 26% of FTSE 100 boards and the percentage of female executive directors in the FTSE 100 sits at just 8.6%. Such inequality is not reserved at the top level of business; the UK’s gender pay gap still stands at 19% in 2015, which is largely driven by the high number of women in lower-paid industries.
While it is important to attract women into male-dominated industries such as STEM, it is equally important to encourage men and boys into female-dominated fields. Without realising men’s potential in feminised industries, we risk devaluing traditional “women’s work” even further. Employers must focus on employees’ capability - their skills, knowledge, experience and potential - not their gender. We advise employers to utilise our resources and toolkits in order to understand the key barriers women face at work, to advance women in the talent pipeline and to create inclusive cultures enabling all employees to thrive, irrespective of gender.