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Women in the Workplace

This year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to Claudia Goldin for advancing the understanding of women’s progress in the workforce. She is only the third woman to win this prize, and the first woman to win it solo, rather than sharing it since the award started in 1969.

Dr. Goldin is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and is the first woman offered tenure in Harvard’s economics department, in 1989.

Her research shows that the gender wage gap has been uneven throughout history, and today, women make about 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man.

Hiring More Women

In 2023, certain industries are still male-dominated as are leadership positions. In tech, for example, only 10% of executive-level roles were held by women in 2020.

An article in the Harvard Business Review shared a tactic to help get over an implicit bias in one informal hiring process. Make a longer short list of candidates when first considering possible hires. Creating a longer list provides the time needed to tap into qualified candidates who don’t always make the top-of-mind list.

Implicit Bias

When creating a job description, be careful about the way it is worded. Some phrases, such as active, analytical, and competitive are stereotypically male and will put women off from making an application. Others, such as committed, considerate, loyal, and responsible are stereotypically female and will attract more women to apply without deterring male applicants.

Keep in mind the different ways that men and women speak about their accomplishments. Men tend to overstate their abilities and skills while women tend to understate both. Don’t just rely on what an applicant tells you, follow up with references and consider implementing objective skills-based evaluations and assessments to help eliminate the implicit bias and expand your talent pool.

Consider creating and implementing a salary rubric within your company. Men, on average,  will be more assertive about negotiating a salary and benefits package than women. Keeping pay related to roles and skills on a more equal footing can help eliminate the gender pay gap, and that will result in more women being willing to apply for your open positions.

Engage a Recruitment Specialist

Developing a relationship with a recruitment professional can do more than lift some of the burden from your hiring team. They can review your hiring process with fresh eyes and point out the areas where hidden implicit bias might exist and help you revamp the parts of your process that need it. Often they can make suggestions based on their expert knowledge of the current hiring landscape and the requirements of top candidates for the type of positions you need to fill.

New data is being created daily on women in the workplace. A professional recruiter can help move the needle on gender equity and pay parity so subsequent research projects can point to the 2020s as the decade we conquered gender bias.

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