Skip to content


Are you setting the right tone to attract female talent?

Six years ago the government made recommendations which included asking FTSE 100 boards to aim for a minimum of 25% female representation by 2015. Only 44% of the 399 companies researched in a recent study by the Directory of Social Change, had achieved this figure by March this year, proving that we still have some way to go to achieve diversity in the workplace. This is even more true in traditionally male dominated industries.

The benefits of diversity are well documented, ranging from a senior team who better represent their customers and stakeholders, through to various commercial benefits. It is argued that a more diverse management team, makes better decisions and delivers more innovation leading to a competitive advantage and ultimately better financial results. In addition, companies with a more diverse team are likely to win the war on talent. Why? Because talented people want to work for companies who embrace diversity.

Diversity delivers results

2015 research by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity were more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions were statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns. It also found that diversity is probably a competitive differentiator that shifts market share toward more diverse companies over time.

If anyone should know the challenges of attracting women into traditionally male dominated industries it should be a recruitment company, yet at Newman Stewart, we are bucking the trend having recently hired two women to key management roles within the business. We are also seeing the move by our clients, many of whom work within supply chain, male-dominated industries, to proactively attract more female leaders to their organisations, having realised the potential benefits. Employers in the fast-paced supply chain work environment are starting to understand the importance of so called “soft skills”—such as collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and multitasking, which many strong females happen to possess.

Rising to the challenge

So how do you rise to the challenge and set the right tone to attract female talent? Gender inclusive recruitment means banishing unconscious gender stereotypes which are hindering hiring decisions and attraction and selection processes that lack objectivity. By creating a brand which appeals to both men and women, and providing opportunities for career progression, you are more likely to appeal to a diverse audience. In addition, you should look to achieve some or all of the following.

Equal pay for equal qualifications and experience
Employers need to embed measures to close the pay gap into their recruitment activities, ranging from monitoring for and fixing pay discrepancies to establishing processes that prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Hiring for potential
Change your mindset and look to new avenues for your talent such as those returning to work after a career break who may have vast amounts of experience and maturity.

Set targets and create a talent pipeline
Some 78% of large organisations in a recent survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers, said they’re actively seeking to hire more women to set them apart from competitors – especially into more experienced and senior positions. As organisations fight to attract female talent – particularly in male dominated sectors – competition is becoming fierce. By working towards a target and continually feeding new talent into your organisation, you are more likely to remain competitive.

Could an executive search firm provide the answer?

52% of UK CEOs are planning to increase their headcount in the coming 12 months. This, coupled with the search for very specific skillsets and the need to diversify, means that recruitment is about to become even more competitive. To create a sustainable talent pipeline and be a talent magnet to the modern workforce, employers must actively focus on creating and delivering gender inclusive recruitment. This is where executive search could help to set your organization apart.

A good executive search firm will work as an extension to your business, understanding your key objectives and the organisational culture. Having a broad and open mind to look past the obvious, to go beyond conventional methods, and to accept that a better gender balance results in a more successful business, means they are better placed to sell the company brand to potential employees. They also have access to a plethora of skilled talent, often specific to a given industry, who may or may not be looking for a career move, and who would not be found through normal channels.

At Newman Stewart, we have a number of specialist consultants, with more than 20 years experience of hiring at all levels in traditionally male dominated industries, including, test, audit and certification, and materials handling and automation. If you need our help to attract a more diverse range of talent that will deliver competitive advantage in 2018, give us a call.

comments powered by Disqus
Prev StoryNext Story