How companies can encourage women into leadership roles

What is your business doing to attract more women into senior positions?


In the competitive job market, as women climb the corporate ladder, they are replaced by male leaders who are considered – professionally, personally and socially – better qualified to juggle a top executive position. It’s a trend that has evolved across numerous industry sectors despite conversations, campaigns and actions to abolish gender inequality.

Globally, the number of women in senior management positions currently stands at just 24 per cent which is a slight improvement from 22 per cent in 2015. However, this slight uplift coincides with an increase in the number of companies with no women in senior management at all, 33 per cent in 2016!
No one can go back and change these figures to reflect equal opportunities for women and men alike. The history that surrounds women’s roles in corporate management roles continues to have a strong impact. It’s evolving, but slowly.

Steph Briody, a Senior Account Manager for the agency Bigfoot Digital, said that gender diversity has led to stronger performance at work: “You don’t see many female leaders in the digital marketing industry, and that’s what’s great about Bigfoot Digital. Gender stereotypes don’t have a place here; women have equal opportunities.

“We find that having more women in executive positions leads to better performance. Embracing skill and experience, and not discounting an accomplished candidate based on gender is the foundation of a successful business,” she explains.

The solution to gender inequality rests on the shoulders of corporations and government to step up with the ability to help women realise their potential and succeed in senior management positions. Here Briody shares five principals that companies can apply to give a true gender balance:

1) Encouraging progression

At the interview stage, make it clear that you offer advancement within your company for the right candidates. There’s no harm in setting the record straight from the beginning, so your colleagues start work feeling confident in their future with your business.

2) Flexible work schedules

It’s still the case that women are primarily responsible for childcare and in some cases senior relatives. Companies that structure their working environment in traditional ways deter women from perusing careers in senior management.

To combat this trend, offer a contract based on full-time, part-time and term-time only roles. This gives women the freedom to start work on an agreed basis with the option of working from home if necessary. Collaborative working platforms such as Google Docs, Base Camp and Trello can be used to communicate with your colleagues without needing to be in their physical space.

3) Training opportunities

This one is relevant to all colleagues; both genders should receive the same training opportunities within your company. Let’s say a position has opened for a Senior Sales Manager at the head of your business, and you share this information with your employees. Don’t discount female colleagues because they have less experience than their male counterparts.

They have shown initiative and a willing to progress within your company; that should not be ignored. Instead, offer training opportunities that give women the confidence and experience needed to progress into senior positions in the near future.

4) Annual performance reviews

The final principle is to provide annual performance reviews for all members of staff. One of the main benefits is, in the rush and bustle of working life, it offers a rare chance to reflect, plan and critique work performance. Give your colleagues an opportunity to discuss what they feel is going well and what could be improved.

This provides women with a chance to raise concerns about possible missed promotion opportunities or gender stereotyping in the workplace.

About the author

This article was provided by Bigfoot Digital, a digital marketing agency offering Barnsley and London SEO services.

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