Since the pandemic, companies have found it harder to attract and retain women in the workplace, which adds to the significant and ongoing struggle to find talent. At the beginning of 2020, women made up 58% of the labor force, and that number fell to 46% between March and April 2020.
Research shows that men and women differ in key areas about what they need and want in the workplace. As one strategy for addressing talent gaps, it’s up to company leaders to learn and implement recruitment and retention strategies to attract, hire, and retain more women in the workplace. In addition, research has shown that firms with more women in senior positions are more profitable, more socially responsible, provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences – among many other benefits.
Better work-life balance
A lack of work-life balance is a primary reason more women than men experienced worker burnout during the pandemic, especially women with children. Covid-19 left families without childcare solutions. Many women gave up their jobs without the availability of daycare or in-person school, even in two-parent households. Compared to 14% of men, 44% of women reported being the only one in the household providing care.
Experiences during the pandemic spurred a shift in thought. Even after the return of in-person childcare availability, women now seek out companies that can provide greater flexibility. Flexibility can mean more paid time off, including paid maternity leave, remote work, or altered work hours or days. Providing flexible options or more paid time off can increase loyalty and the likelihood of women returning to work following a need for leave. It’s essential to put strategies for work flexibility into practice to attract more female talent.
Competitive and equitable pay
For women, work-life balance (66%) is equally as important as an increase in income or benefits (65%) when selecting a new position. Compensation must be competitive to draw in new hires.
In addition to competitive market pay, women want to know that their pay is equitable and fair. Employees who understand how pay is determined are more likely to be satisfied with their pay. Breaking down why they make what they make can help when it’s communicated effectively.
Diversity and inclusion
In a recent study by Gallup, 13,000 employees were asked what they wanted in their next job. One in two women report diversity and inclusion as a very important factor in their decision to take a position, compared with three in 10 men. For women to be hired and promoted, it’s essential to review your recruitment practices to ensure a fair hiring process. Recruiters and HR professionals must be committed to interviewing a diverse slate of applicants.
It’s not enough to hire more women. It’s necessary to celebrate and recognize the women in your company. Sharing stories of women at all levels is a draw to attracting female talent. Have conversations with them about their workplace needs and do what you can to fill them. Your company should continuously evaluate benefits and policies. Doing so will ensure the women in your company feel heard, understood, and valued.