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Overcoming the Obstacles of Attracting and Recruiting Women into Male Dominated Industries

As stated by Anthony Lasocki (Head of Talent Acquisition, EMEA) at Verizon companies who operate within a typically male-dominated industry often recognise the importance of attracting more women into their businesses. However, although some industries have moved beyond establishing a business case for balancing the number of men and women in their organisation and with practical diversity policies being in place it is fair to say that with the multiple hiring pressures that exist in skill scarce markets these initiatives can often take a back seat.

To ensure gender diversity remains a key HR agenda item it would be prudent to identify and understand what best practice options can support it. It is crucial however to consider that for any diversity initiative to succeed your business and its internal culture needs to be able to support diverse talent. By “seeing things differently” we should start with those policies that can positively influence gender diversity in your organisation and not just focus on the obstacles that have created it. Your overall talent approach will have a significant impact. So what areas should you consider?

Talent Acquisition

Employer branding and messaging

Your goal is to develop a gender diverse workforce, but it is imperative to organisational success that ultimately you hire the right person. Talent of any description should not be made to feel that they are being used to hit a policy scorecard or that they are part of a short term initiative to bring people in. When looking to attract women to your business employer messaging can bring your organisation to life. Consider who in your organisation could be inspirational to other women and ensure that any family friendly policies and benefits that currently benefit both your female and male workforce are appropriately promoted.

Your talent acquisition channels

In an age where social media is prevalent and highly useful in the talent attraction process when looking to hire a more diverse range of employees, make sure you’re thinking about the types of places in the social media space where they spend their time. Ensuring you find a way to reach out to them which promotes your business as a place they want to be. Reaching out in this way should also be considered within the educational system. If you operate in an industry where the challenge of hiring into STEM positions is already impacting your business you will know that the need to engage with employees of the future whilst they are still deciding on where their future may lay is key.

Additionally if you acquire talent through talent providers and recruitment agencies it is essential that they understand and know how to promote your diversity objectives. Your employer branding and messaging is imperative to them in finding you the right talent for your business.

Flexible working

Do you offer or have you considered flexible working? When your policies are clear and they apply to many it is a great way to help attract top talent to your business as long as you remember to tell people in your talent attraction policies that it is on offer. Anthony Lasocki has pointed out that although it is becoming more prevalent in organisations “only 6.2% of organisations will actually state that it’s on offer in their job adverts! This could be a great way of attracting more diverse applicants by being more upfront about what’s on offer.” It is important to remember that flexible working can take a number of different formats and what works for one organisation may not work for another. The key is to find a policy that works for your business and allow it to support you in attracting a diverse workforce.

Talent Management

Develop your people and ensure you have an inclusive culture

In our experience Optamor recognises that some organisations will need support in understanding what impact their hiring community and teams are having on the success of their diversity policy. You may need to train and educate key people in your organisation to recognise the impact that they are having when making both hiring decisions and considering succession plans. Supporting these talent acquisition behaviours with the development of an inclusive culture helps breed and promote the right behaviours and creates a good working environment for women both to be employed by and return to after having a family.

So what can you do?

  1. Review where your diverse hires come from and invest in those channels if appropriate to increase your numbers further
  2. Train your hiring managers and employees on the importance of diversity, but do not lose focus on finding the right person for the job
  3. Offer training to individuals to allow them to up-skill or re-train into areas of the business where diversity would be advantageous to both them and the business
  4. Reach out to existing and future talent through social platforms and the educational system
  5. Do not treat diversity like a project

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