Ways to Increase Gender Diversity Recruiting Profiles

Nicholas J Price

Across the globe, women have long been underrepresented at every level in the corporate space. That is beginning to change. Increasing gender diversity is a top recruiting priority for boards now and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Financial and operational skills are still important for boards, but gender diversity is becoming a higher priority than in the past. Today, leadership is caving in to pressure to focus on talent diversity and inclusion to help drive innovation within their companies and to create a competitive advantage. In today's marketplace, gender parity in the workplace and in boardrooms has become not only a business imperative but a social cause. For this reason, it's important for businesses to assess the diversity at all levels of employment and leadership and set targets to diversify even more. Fortunately, there are specific steps that nominating committees can take to increase gender diversity recruiting profiles.

Ways to Increase Gender Diversity Recruiting Profiles

The first step of increasing gender diversity profiles is to identify the percentage of women who are working at every level of the company. By gathering this data, you will be able to determine if there is gender disparity at any level and if it exists in particular departments. From there, it will be a matter of setting targets for increasing gender diversity and developing a plan to reach your goals.

One of the ancillary outcomes of formulating a plan to increase gender diversity is that it will simultaneously increase other kinds of diversity as well, which will help round out the workforce.

Model Openness of Gender Equality from the Top

When women are able to see that a company already has several women in leadership positions, it sends a clear message that the company values the contribution that women make. The message is empowering for women on the move and makes it easier for them to imagine themselves in a similar position. Once they get hired by the company, women will also have the confidence in knowing that they'll have plenty of role models and support at higher levels.

As companies open their doors to more women, they're also opening doors to more ethnicities and men as well, which will enhance the workplace overall. This also provides opportunities for companies to discover talents among minorities and establish internal development programs for leadership.

Tailor Your Brand to Appeal to Women and Minorities

Branding can be an integral part of attracting women and minorities to your leadership team and to your company in general. By making gender diversity part of your company's branding strategy, it demonstrates your company's commitment to diversity. It's also a step toward integrating gender diversity into your corporate culture.

Women usually research the companies for which they want to work. They may be inclined to work for companies that express an openness and encouragement to women workers and pass over employers that don't make the same effort. In fact, the Gender Insights Report found that 42% of men and 41% of women desire to learn about a company's culture first, before anything else.

Social media outlets like Facebook and LinkedIn are popular places for women to seek opportunities for employment. It's helpful to promote gender diversity on your company's social media sites and website, as well as in other advertisements. Be sure to tell authentic stories and depict real photos of women and minorities working at your company.

Review Job Descriptions to Ensure they Speak to Women and Minority Audiences

If it's been a while since you have reviewed your job descriptions, it's a prime time to check them for gender-coded language. Are descriptions written in such a way that they will appeal to the female demographic? Bear in mind that women tend to think they need to meet all of a job's requirements and they often pass by jobs where they don't meet just one of the required criteria. By contrast, most men will pursue jobs for which they only meet a few of the criteria.

One way to tailor job qualifications toward women is to rewrite the qualifications so that the job description only lists the necessary job requirements. You can still include a separate list of preferred qualifications.

If you don't normally include a salary range, consider that adding one may help attract female workers. According to LinkedIn, 68% of women stated that it's important for them to know the salary range for a position upfront when considering a job. Gender pay gaps exist in nearly every industry. By offering a salary range from the start, it tells women applicants that the company is committed to transparency and fairness, which helps to build trust early in the process.

Many companies are taking advantage of technology to offer their employees opportunities to have flexibility in their work schedules or to work from home. These types of options can be a big draw for women, who are often juggling the demands of work and family or who serve as caregivers for family members.

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and Diligent Corporation have partnered in a unique way to help streamline the way that boards modernize their boardroom and support efforts to diversify their boards. Nom Gov is a digital tool that allows nominating committees access to thousands of profiles of board directors and executives across the globe. Committees can access critical data in real time. The tool also gives them the ability to view their board's skills and expertise in relation to their peers and industry to gain insights into their combined strengths and weaknesses.

Boards can increase their chances to gain qualified women in leadership by tracking their referral sources by gender. They should continue using the resources that bring forth the best female candidates and reconsider whether it's worthwhile to continue using referral sources that recommend mostly men. They should look for search firms that have established a credible record for building diverse candidate pools. When using outside talent firms, they could consider offering higher commission payments for diverse candidates. It also helps to share organizational strategy and targets with search firms.

Related Insights
Nicholas J. Price
Nicholas J. Price is a former Manager at Diligent. He has worked extensively in the governance space, particularly on the key governance technologies that can support leadership with the visibility, data and operating capabilities for more effective decision-making.