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How to support women in the workplace
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on ways to improve and support women's experience in the workforce. A wide array of strategies have been put forward or promoted as means of achieving this such as workforce participation targets, board quotas, and legally enshrined rights to request flexible work.
This increased focus is well overdue. It is well established that businesses with more women in leadership positions perform better. According to Harvard Business Review, a firm that goes "from having no women in corporate leadership (the CEO, the board, and other C-suite positions) to a 30% female share is associated with a one-percentage-point increase in net margin — which translates to a 15% increase in profitability for a typical firm".
One of the biggest obstacles to on-going female workforce participation, particularly as they reach the point in their careers where leadership positions start to open up, is the high cost and lack of readily available childcare. Many find it difficult or not financially viable to return to work after having children, causing a 'brain drain' on corporations who lose valuable, highly skilled employees because they are unable or unwilling to provide a framework that supports women's return to work.
It is well established that businesses with more women in leadership positions perform better
Simon Rothery, an Australian chief executive for Goldman Sachs and a member of Male Champions of Change, a group of CEOs working to increase diversity in corporates, stated that: “you make an investment in your employees right from the start. If a person then doesn’t come back to work [after having a child], that’s a huge cost to you.
“Even if you take a purely commercial approach, this issue is something we have to solve.”
Companies that offer programs and initiatives that help support their female workforce also experience a large number of other benefits, such as increased employee loyalty, higher engagement, attraction and retention of high calibre female employees. By extending these programs, particularly flexible working arrangements, to all workers, companies can further support families and by extension women in the workforce.
At PageGroup, we strive to create a workplace that empowers and supports women to reach their highest potential. Our [email protected] program runs a number of workshops and leadership forums, offering our female workers the chance to learn and interact with leading female business figures, while our mentoring program offers an opportunity to be matched with a senior business leader to help plan and build their career.
We launched [email protected] as part of wider Inclusion and Diversity strategy called OpenPage. OpenPage recognises and promotes the full breadth of our talent base regardless of gender, age, sexuality, race, religion and ability. [email protected] has focused our thought process and action plan around creating an environment where women in our business can thrive without barriers. Our community is strong and delivering great results internally.
We are also extremely proud to have recently increased our paid maternity leave policy, offering an increased number of paid weeks leave to further support our valuable female employees and their families during this special time. PageGroup also offers all our employees workplace flexibility options to ensure that they are able to fit their work commitments around the most important commitment of all - their family.