Recruiting specifically for women: a brave move or just sensible?

Helen Beeby, IT Service Relationship Manager
16 January 2018
Image of a woman holding a folder.
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Something came up in my LinkedIn news feed recently that really got me thinking about gender equality and what is considered a step too far to address the issue. It was a job advert from financial powerhouse J.P. Morgan that was only available to women.

My initial reaction was ‘wow, that’s brave!’ but after some thought, is it really? This organisation is clearly taking the battle of gender diversity in their Leadership teams very seriously. Having checked out their careers site, they are actively developing programmes that encourage women only, including a graduate programme in the US. That got me thinking. I’ve not been in the graduate category for some years, but had this been an opportunity for me then, could I be wearing the shoes of Amey CEO Andy Milner by now? Unlikely, as I’m a size 3, but you get my drift.

I’ve come across opportunities in my career that have inadvertently ruled out women, things like ‘must be able to travel in a moment’s notice’. Sure, when I have three kids at home, two of them require a very special kind of care which means routine is of huge importance, and as a single mum, that’s not going to be doable! Or ‘must be able to work to tight deadline’ – read ‘work late in the office’. Not an option either. But does any of that mean I couldn’t have made a success of those roles? No, it doesn’t.

My role now (which incidentally is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had) requires travel, and meeting tight deadlines. I arrange care for my young ones around that commitment, and will work outside what’s considered ‘standard office hours’ to get the job done.

So what do we do as part of our recruitment drive to tackle the gender gap? One thing is thinking about about the words we use. We don’t just offer flexibility. We’re precise about it. It’s not just ‘we will let you work flexibly’, but ‘we will fit your working hours so you can do the school run’.

Food for thought… what are YOU doing to address the gender gap?

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