Equal opportunities for men and women in the workplace

May 10, 2021

According to Workplace by Facebook, women generate just 37% of the global GDP despite making up 50% of the population. In other words, women are still underrepresented in the global workforce even in present times when it is such a vocal topic.

I know this is an age-old topic in today’s world and subject of diversity goes much further than just the gender gap. However, I work at a boutique recruitment agency where two out of three of our co-founders are female and our small (but mighty!) staff count is equally split between males and females. I see huge benefits in this. Not only do employers have a moral duty in today’s world to ensure equal opportunity and representation, but it also has positive effects within the workplace for employees and ultimately for employers themselves.

What benefits do I see?

Better reflection on clients

The more the DNA of your organisation reflects your clients’, the more likely it is you will be able to communicate effectively and build trust with them. I have heard multiple stories where prospective clients have asked vendors qualifying questions around their workforce’s gender diversity, including at board level.

A happier workforce

An inclusive and equal workplace leads to more empathy between colleagues. This atmosphere inspires confidence, energy and trust, empowering employees to be at their best. As a result, organisations can expect to see more productivity, staff retention and overall profitability.

Different perspectives

A University of Michigan study found that groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of higher-ability problem solvers. Diverse groups that have a wider variety of backgrounds can draw upon a wider range of experiences when solving a problem, leading to better innovation, creativity and decision-making. While this study relates to a wider groups (i.e. race, age), it still goes to show the same benefit.

Improved employer brand and reputation

According to a PWC 2015 survey, a large percentage of female millennials look for employers with a strong record for diversity. As a legal recruiter, I regularly have prospective candidates ask me questions about a law firms’ diversity statistics and ethos when deciding whether they could see themselves working there. Firms who are seen to be promoting or have females in positions of leadership are looked at in a better light.

Employee retention

Briefly mentioned above. If a female colleague is not being remunerated equally or being given the same opportunities as their male counterparts, they can, and more often than not will eventually leave the company to go somewhere else where they will be treated equally. This can cause loss of productivity, increased recruitment costs and reputation damage for an organisation.

Better financial performance

It does not take a genius to work out that any of above the above benefits can directly lead to improved better financial performance for a business. The list above is not exhaustive yet it goes to show that active investment by companies in male and female equality can go a far way in enhancing business performance as a whole. See further discussions on the topic:

International Monetary Fund: Gender Diversity in Senior Positions and Firm Performance: Evidence in Europe (pdf)

McKinsey: Delivering through Diversity (pdf)

entrepreneur.com: 4 Ways Diversity is Directly Linked to Profitability