The representation of women on company boards is improving, but there is still a long way to go before achieving equal representation.
According to Catalyst, the global non-profit organization dedicated to creating women-friendly work environments, only 26.1% of U.S. companies had female management. Meanwhile, most companies had at least some female representation on their board, but more than half of companies had only 1-2% of their board represented by women.
The organization argues that for companies to see the benefits of a diverse board, at least three members must be women. So how do you increase female representation at the highest level of your company?
Here, we’ll discuss some steps you can take to improve your company’s diversity and provide leadership opportunities for women in your company.
When it comes to senior executive hires, many companies will look outward and choose a candidate with experience at the required level. But you might be missing a tip there. Internal hires offer many advantages, and one of the most important is that they know your business inside out. While they will receive some support as they transition to a higher position, they won’t need training on your company’s policies, goals, or systems.
This will be particularly helpful when it comes to increasing your female representation in leadership, as the pool of external candidates will likely be predominantly male. Considering candidates with the right expertise instead of prioritizing those with board experience will help – your customer service manager will likely have more knowledge to become your global customer service manager instead another Director-level hire with limited experience in this area.
Women are promoted within their companies at a lower rate than men. Supporting women in your company in higher roles will show your staff that you are committed to gender equality in the workplace.
Participate in leadership training programs
Since the existing pool of executive and board level candidates is still predominantly male, women find it difficult to break through the glass ceiling and step into a leadership role without experience. In addition to leveraging your existing employee base when seeking high-level hires, you can offer leadership training programs that will equip your employees with the additional skills and knowledge they need to succeed at the top of your team. business.
Offering these programs is not only a great way to increase diversity at the top of your company, but it can also be a great hiring tactic. If your potential new hires know that there are opportunities for growth in your company in addition to training to help them get there, your company will be a much more attractive place to work.
Tap into existing networks
Catalyst is one of many organizations that aim to help women in the workplace. There are a number of membership networks that you can access to not only seek out top female talent, but also to help your female employees advance in their careers.
The American Business Women’s Association provides educational and networking opportunities that allow women to grow personally and professionally. Its goal is to prepare women for leadership positions and it partners with general leadership groups to provide specific opportunities for women. Partnering with an organization like this can complement your leadership training to provide a well-rounded experience for your employees with leadership ambitions.
Women-led company Seramount has been conducting research since 1979 with the goal of advancing diversity in the workplace. It places a strong emphasis on gender diversity and annually publishes a list of the best companies for American women to work for. It partners with companies to help them improve their diversity and equality by developing tailored programs. Representation of women at the executive and board levels is improving in the United States, but we still haven’t reached a state of gender equality in the workplace. By implementing these tips, you can improve the diversity of your board while providing leadership opportunities for your existing employees.
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