Women in the Workplace
Organizations that do not want women in their workplace are, frankly, out of luck. Women currently make up 47% of the US workforce and 51% of all management, professional, and related positions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017; DeWolf, 2017). Globally, the outlook is similar, with women accounting for 49% of the workforce (International Labor Organization, 2016). In the tech industry, women make up less than 20 percent of U.S. tech jobs, even though they make up more than half of the U.S. workforce. The infographic below showcases some of the challenges women still face in the tech industry.
ISACA’s 2017 Women in Technology Survey
Benefits of Recruiting Women
According to Cathleen Clerkin with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), besides doubling your talent pool, recruiting women into your organization may also increase your company’s financial performance. Previous research shows that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women on boards, financially outperform companies with the lowest representation of women on boards. Moreover, gender-diverse teams have higher sales and profits compared to male-dominated teams and a recent Gallup study found that gender-diverse business units have higher average revenue than less diverse business units.
But women might do more than boost the bottom line. In a study by CCL , they found that having more women in your organization might actually make your organization a better place to work. Specifically, survey respondents estimated what percentage of individuals in their workplace were women. Answers ranged from 0–100%, with the average being about 45% (close to the national average). Having a higher percentage of women in an organization predicted:
• More job satisfaction
• More organizational dedication
• More meaningful work
• Less burnout
Increased Engagement and Retention
In addition to this, having more women in the workplace also was positively related to employee engagement and retention. Specifically, when asked why they stay with their current employer, people from organizations with a high percentage of women were more likely to cite positive and meaningful organizational culture, including having
• Enjoyable work
• A job that fits well with other areas of their life
• Opportunities to make a difference
These new findings persist even when controlling for differences in participants’ age, industry, organization size, leadership level, ethnicity, and gender. In fact, while both men and women in the CCL survey responded with the same positive pattern of results, their findings were even stronger for men on some measures—specifically being satisfied with their job, enjoying their work, and not feeling burned out. Thus, in the CCL sample set, having more women in an organization is associated with positive organizational outcomes for both men and women.
What can organizations and leaders do?
The findings from the Center for Creative Leadership suggest that organizations without a strong representation of women are missing out on opportunities to get better talent, make more money, and have more satisfied and dedicated employees. It also suggests that percentages of women matter. It might not be enough for organizations to employ “token” women if they want to reap the multiple benefits of a gender-diverse workplace. Leaders should take a careful look at the gender balance in their organizations. If women are still the minority, they should try to hire more women. As a bonus, organizations that have more women also attract and retain more women. Investing in women now will likely make it easier for an organization to have more women down the road.