Diversity remains the ‘unicorn’ that is increasingly being sought after, but persistently elusive. Whilst the gender mix in the Accountancy & Finance profession tends to be more or less equally balanced at entry level positions, the fact remains that as we rise through the ranks women become increasingly under-represented.
Through championing diversity and inclusion, we can work towards the future success of an organisation.
1. Focus on aptitude rather than attainment
Businesses who make hires based purely on the most recent job on a candidate’s cv may miss out on talented female applicants who have had absences from work.
Introducing a competency based application processes can help to eliminate this perceived disadvantage. By assessing softer skills such as communication, emotional intelligence, problem solving and self-motivation over up to date industry knowledge of finance regulations, which can be learnt more readily and updated more quickly than soft skills.
This would mean a fairer assessment of candidates regardless of gender, helping to lessen the damaging effect of career gaps on future career plans.
2. Highlight flexi-time
Although flexible working is a working practice that has historically been the domain of mothers returning to work, it is now increasingly sought after by employees of all ages and genders, and for many comes top of the list of criteria when looking for a new job. The fact remains, however, that flexible working is still seen as something to be earned through hard work and company loyalty rather than an optional working practice offered on the beginning of one’s employment. By embracing more agile working practices, companies give themselves the advantage of a wider talent pool to choose from as well as greater employee engagement and retention.
3. Diversity and Inclusion programmes
Education and training, employee affinity groups and structured return to work programmes are all initiatives whose benefits may not necessarily be immediately measureable, but should gradually drive changes to opportunities, encourage greater gender balance in the workplace, and enhance company performance.
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