International Women’s Day Talent Pool


International Woman’s Day: Is it time to look at your talent pool?

Although we live in a society where gender equality is not only expected, but also legally required, females continue to be underrepresented in the workplace – particularly at the most senior level. International Women’s Day is a great opportunity for businesses to look at their existing workforces and see if they can widen their talent pools to become more inclusive to female talent. 

According to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), female employment in the UK has risen through the decades. The most recent statistics show that as a proportion of the population, 72.3% of women aged 16-64 are in employment, compared to 52.7% of women back in 1971.

However, analysis from the Royal Statistical Society shows that, in the UK, some 82% of all CEOs, 92% of chairpersons and 73% of directors are male. 

Further data from the ONS meanwhile, indicate that the UK’s overall gender pay gap – the difference between men and women’s median hourly earnings – is 17.9%. This means that for every £1 the average man earns, the average woman earns just 82p. That’s not to say we’re not making progress, though: for full-time employees, the gender pay gap decreased from 9.1% in 2017 to 8.6% in 2018.

However, eight in 10 UK firms still pay men more than women. What’s more, Britain’s top 100 firms have just six female CEOs – in fact, in 2019, FTSE 100 CEOs were more likely to be called Stephen, or Steve, than they are to be a woman.

While this inequality is prevalent across the business landscape, some sectors report more equality than others. Indeed, data shows that women are significantly underrepresented across three of White Recruitment’s four specialisms:

●      According to the Women’s Engineering Society, just 12.37% of all engineers are women in the UK.

●      While 37% of all logistics related graduates are females, only 5%of top-level supply chain positions are held by women.

●      In HVACR, meanwhile, women account for a tiny 1.4%of the workforce of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers.

Interestingly, all of these sectors have also reported talent shortages or skills gaps in recent years. ​

The business case for diversity

With this in mind, boosting gender equality in the workplace makes perfect business sense. Research suggests that organisations that respect and value the diversity brought by both women and men are better able to attract and retain high performers and improve operational performance.

The recognition of the business case for diversity in the workplace is by no means a new phenomenon. No longer just a ‘nice to have’, it is now widely accepted that greater diversity really does have a positive impact on core organisational outcomes. The research most often cited as evidence was provided by separate studies by consultants Catalyst and McKinsey, both published in 2007. These studies compared the financial performance of organisations according to the gender diversity at senior levels – and both found that greater diversity had a notable impact on businesses profitability.

Since these landmark reports, a myriad of further studies have supported and expanded upon the benefits of truly representative teams, namely the advantages of having greater access to different perspectives and sources of information.

Widen your talent pool beyond International Women’s Day

It is also widely recognised that having the best talent is critical to success in competitive markets, and the wider your talent pool, the better your chance of finding and securing the best people.

However, employers may be inadvertently limiting the number – or type – of individuals who are exposed to their job opportunities by advertising in the same places, using language which isn’t inclusive and relying too heavily on employee referral schemes – all of which can severely limit talent pools.

WR Search

WR Search, our brand new retained model  has been carefully designed to empower businesses to hire the best person for the job every time – regardless of gender. WR Search provides cutting edge insight, behavioural assessments and comprehensive on-boarding to save clients time and money, and advanced tools to help candidates land their dream job.

In fact, we’re so proud of it, we offer a 12-month replacement guarantee should a candidate leave – for any reason.

To find out more, contact us today