#YesSheCan In-Depth: How Can Women Be Encouraged Back Into Their Careers?

In Part 1 of our #YesSheCan In-depth blog, we talked about how women and their careers had been affected by the COVID pandemic. The second part of this important topic will talk about how women can be encouraged and motivated to return to their work by overcoming their career barriers.

The main group of people who can fuel this change are businesses. Women can’t be encouraged if they can’t see positive changes in industries they want to work in. Likewise, women should be able to see themselves happily working in their careers.
Realistically, businesses need to start doing this now. Not only will this create a more diverse and inclusive job market, but it will also plug the huge skills gap many industries are experiencing now. So, we’ve listed three areas where businesses should be supporting and helping women in their careers and how they can achieve that –

1) Break Down Stereotypes

There are many stereotypes’ women have stated which affect their outlook on the job market such as:

These need to be broken down by businesses from a top-down perspective. This means CEO, founders and those in senior roles need to actively encourage their employees to highlight these messages and be positive leaders. This can be actioned through setting up regular educational workshops for employees and promoting a safe workplace environment.

Note that this isn’t a one-time fix – a top-down approach needs to be an active flow for a business to make positive changes.

 

2) Be Diverse & Inclusive

Diversity is a big aspect which businesses can tackle now to motivate women. 61% of women look at the diversity of an employee before applying for a job, so making these changes are imperative for businesses.

Likewise, being actively inclusive will be a big motivator for women. The pandemic has meant many women have spent more time at home and our personal and work lives have become combined.

Research shows that women actively seek flexible careers. This choice can come down to increased commitments for childcare, religion and many more. Having that option means that women feel included and that a business is being equal to everyone.

There are more ways in which businesses can strive to promote diversity and inclusion including:

  • Avoiding unconcious bias when looking at job applications–think about a person’s skill and qualifications rather than their name or race.
  • Express commitment to improving diversity and inclusion publicly (on websites, in press releases, etc).
  • Take a look at our diversity and inclusion roadmap to get an idea of what your business needs.

3) Showcase Role Models

For women of colour in particular, having role models in the careers they want to join is hugely motivational. If a woman, and this is definitely important for young women, can’t see someone ‘like them’ making it, they are less likely to pursue a career in their chosen industry. Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in particular have said a lack of role models is a big career-progression barrier for them.

This applies to the wider population of women with research showing that looking for female employees is the first action they take before applying for jobs. This should be more focused than just the umbrella term of women –showcasing women of colour will be even more impactful than using a white employee. This can be your businesses first step into becoming more inclusive for future employees and it helps your brand positively too.

Here are more ways that you action right now such as:

  • Actively show womenfrom all levels already in your workplace on your website, LinkedIn or other social media platforms.
  • Invest in videos or blog posts of your women employees talking about what it’s like to work for you and show them doing their job.
  • Get perspectives and opinions from women that you already employ on how you can improve visibility in your business

                      “IF YOU CAN’T SEE IT, YOU CAN’T BE IT”

This can be a positive journey for your business and ultimately your employees – both current and future ones–will notice and thank you for your great efforts. Following these steps will ensure you’re taking the time to make a difference and that diversity, inclusion and showcasing female role models is your ultimate goal!

If you believe your business could benefit from D&I workshops, check out #YesSheCan services here to take the first steps to transforming your work culture.

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