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We all need to press for progress this International Women's Day and beyond

By Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

International Women’s Day is our opportunity to start changing mindsets and see gender diversity in the workplace for what it really is: a source of limitless potential and unbridled possibilities.

As we all celebrate the successes of women today and the progress we have already made towards reaching equality in the workplace, it is important to remember there is still work to be done. That’s why the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressForProgress.

As a company, Hays is committed to continuously improving diversity in our own workplace. Here are some ways you can take part to help bring about greater gender equality:

1. Challenge the norm

On our journey to become a more diverse and meritocratic organisation, we have found that asking yourself the difficult questions about how inclusive your own organisation’s culture and attitudes really are is key. Improving diversity monitoring and reporting processes, and training hiring managers in unconscious bias when recruiting are just some of the ways we have already made changes as a result of asking ourselves these questions.

It is the responsibility of all of us to continue challenging assumptions in our own workplace to overcome the barriers these pose to achieving gender equality. For example, women are under-represented in industries such as engineering which is still often seen as a career option for men only. Pay gaps also still exist between men and women, especially in senior roles, for example in the procurement profession. These views will endure unless we continue to challenge and press for change in these areas.

2. Keep track of progress

Our organisation plays an important role ensuring recruitment processes are fair and inclusive so every individual has an equal opportunity to succeed in their career.

As part of our commitment to this issue, today we are launching our annual Diversity & Inclusion survey to find out how employers fare against five key factors supporting equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I encourage everyone to take part so we can get a well-rounded view from organisations across Ireland.

3. #PressforProgress in your day-to-day life

Pressing for change is not just confined to the workplace. It is well-known that children form attitudes towards work and gender from a young age, meaning mentors, teachers, parents or friends can all make a difference to address gender inequality in the future. Recognising this, we work with a number of diversity networks and groups across a range of professions to help shape these views, such as Teen-Turn which offers technology internships to young girls who may not otherwise get the opportunity to experience working in the industry.

Today, we join a number of organisations around the world to celebrate the progress we are making on gender equality. It is important to keep up momentum on the work already achieved, and continue to #PressForProgress in the year to come.

For more information, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant.

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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