This past November 19th was Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, making it no better time to recognize all of the barriers that women have broken through in the workplace. Females have had to overcome a lot to get their foot in the boardroom door, but this consistent persistence has started to pay off with a climbing number of women in the C-suite and women in leadership roles increasing to 36.9% in 2022.
Despite progress, however, women shouldn’t be alone on their climb up the corporate ladder. Businesses also need to recognize the value of feminine aspects in the work world and start to make efforts towards removing the gender bias that is seeded so deeply into many industries’ infrastructure.
Let’s take a look at how companies across industries can have better gender-inclusive principles in the hiring and talent development processes, and how this can help to improve their bottom line.
Women Can Open Their Own Doors to Opportunity
Psychology has been pitted against women to date when it comes to equal opportunity in the business world because if a woman has made it to the point where she is being considered for a higher position, she is different from the norm—something that really makes people uncomfortable.
However, assets that are typically attributed to the alpha white male in the business world—including extroversion, charisma, and confidence— are traits that do not drive sales success. The real skill sets that make salespeople effective are discipline and organization, intellectual curiosity, empathy, an ability to navigate complexity and create clarity out of ambiguity, and creativity in problem-solving. These are qualities that apply equally to males and females and to introverts and extroverts.
This demonstrates the need to change how companies evaluate candidates for roles so that bias can be left out and the human capabilities that are vital to a position are what is being measured. As technology has advanced leagues in a very short amount of time, this is where data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can come in to be used as tools to battle bias in the recruitment process.
There is no possible way to eliminate all bias in humans, and to ask a hiring manager to separate an applicant from their resume is extremely difficult—but AI that wields data can do so without skipping a beat. AI can be programmed to only look at specific information, creating a data set that is “blind” to demographic data such as race or gender. If candidate screening is based solely on skills and experience, criteria for roles are evaluated without gender even being brought into the equation.
Changing Statistics for The Better
A recent study found that 30% to 50% of promotions are still unequal between genders because white men are judged on potential, whereas everyone else needs to prove themselves over and over. Ask any woman in the business world about this, and chances are she will tell you that this sentiment is more than accurate.
But hope is in sight with the application of select technological tools that help to change statistics for the better. According to a series of studies done for an article in the Harvard Business Review, “If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired”: results suggest that we can use bias in favor of the status quo actually to change the status quo.
The study showed that when the final candidate pool was more than 50% female, the woman was selected for the open position every time. By deploying data and employing AI, companies can help eliminate any unconscious bias when it comes to the first hiring stages, getting more women into the final pool of candidates. This is especially important when it comes to getting more females into leadership positions.
According to a Pew Research Center report on what makes a good leader, characteristics such as honesty, intelligence, compassion, and innovation were the highest ranked. Women scored higher in most of these categories in comparison to their male counterparts, showing that females, despite long-standing patriarchal fault lines, can in fact be a good choice for leadership.
Furthermore, companies with higher diversity in management reported 38% more revenue, on average. This is good for business bottom lines, but also for companies that want to lead the charge when it comes to equitable recruitment and career development. Tune in for our next blog which will go into further detail about how data and AI can be wielded to help companies improve their recruitment processes.