Career Women are Less Likely to Have Strong Networks, So Here’s What TO DO

March 10, 202211:00 am2259 views
Career Women are Less Likely to Have Strong Networks, So Here’s What TO DO
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You might have heard a lot about the gender pay gap, but it is not the only gap that exists in the workplace. There is another gap that is nearly as important, though much less discussed: the network gap. For women, a weaker network means less access to job opportunities. For employers, it means they are missing some of the best candidates who have the right skills but lack the right connections.

According to a LinkedIn survey, a weaker network means less access to job opportunities. The survey shows that the gender network gap holds true across virtually every country with 14 percent to 38 percent of women globally having less likely strong networking in both large and diverse organizations. In the APAC region, ACDP reported that women’s labor force participation has stalled, and in South Asia, it has actually decreased over the last decade. This means women are mostly concentrated in informal jobs and bear the majority of unpaid care responsibilities. Again, the lack of networking opportunities for women limits their career path. 

To celebrate #IWD2022, HR in Asia is publishing a series of articles discussing women’s achievements and challenges in the workplace. And today, we’ll go through some tips on how business leaders can address the gender network gap. Read on…

Rely Less on Referral Programs  

Referrals are one of the most effective recruitment methods since they rely entirely on people’s personal networks. However, it is duly noted that personal recommendations may benefit men over women. White men, more than any other category, are more likely to profit from referral programs, according to a Payscale study. Holding all else equal, women of color fare the worst and are 35% less likely to receive a referral. These findings suggest that referral programs should not be the main source of new recruits, as this usually creates a homogenous work environment. As a leader, ensure that talent diversity is taken into account if you run employee referrals in your hiring strategy, as having a diverse workforce will nurture innovation in your organization.

Avoid Gendered Job Descriptions  

Terms and words you write in job descriptions and job posts matter since they can be too gendered at times. Sometimes, using gendered language can dissuade talents from applying. Gendered job descriptions may not appear too blatantly like writing “male-only” as one of the characteristics. A study shows that terms like “competition,” “dominant,” and “leader” are connected with male-coded employment, whereas words like “support,” “understand,” and “interpersonal” are related to female-coded work. It is best to first acknowledge then avoid using terms that discourage women from applying to a certain job.

Read Also: Empowering Women in STEM and #BreaktheBias with Andy Sim, Dell Technologies 

To avoid writing a gendered job description, here are some things to consider:

  • Consider “widening the net” and pay extra attention to examples and data from a variety of schools, especially schools that you don’t historically or typically recruit from. 
  • Check job descriptions for gender-biased terminology that might discourage women from applying.
  • Take another look at the ‘must haves’ (requirements) vs. the ‘nice to haves’ (preferences). For example, do you really have to have 10 years of experience in X, a degree from a specific set of schools, a Master’s or a Ph.D., or all-hours and/or weekend availability (which might automatically screen out many people)? 
  • Examine the specific words that are used. Some job postings, particularly in male-dominated fields, are sometimes inadvertently written with male pronouns or suggest hypermasculine behavior (problem-fixer, competitive, dominant, ‘Type-A’) is required or rewarded, potentially signaling that women need not apply. 

The gender of the individual you are planning to recruit can be predicted by gender language bias in your job posting. If you are serious about creating diversity and not excluding women to apply to a job opening in your company, it is time to avoid gendered terms. Using tools will help you identify trouble areas in your word selections and catch anything you may have overlooked, such as pronouns, adjectives, and verbs. Here are some helpful apps you can use:

  • Textio – suggests alternative, more inclusive words for job descriptions
  • SeekOut – targets diverse passive candidates proactively, offers blind hiring mode and demographic search filters to target diverse candidates
  • Applied – suggests more inclusive words for job descriptions, anonymize and remove identifying information from candidates’ profile
  • Gender Decoder – identifies the gender-biased language in the job description – free online tool
  • Greenhouse – offers D&I nudges to remind recruiters of bias-reducing behaviors, offers an option to anonymize candidate profiles
  • TapRecruit – uses advanced language analysis and data science to write a job description that attracts more qualified and diverse talent pools 
  • Ongig – helps companies create more engaging and effective job posts 

Having women be involved equally as men do in the workplace is about giving women equal opportunities to everything, including network. The road to workplace equality and allowing women to expand their network is one of the things employers can do to support inclusivity towards everyone. 

Read Also: Steps to Create a Women-Friendly Work Environment 

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