January 27, 2016
When the EDGE Certified Foundation started on its journey to help achieve gender equality in the workplace on a global level, we knew that real change for the better was never going to be linear. Every path is full of lessons, and as we ‘edge forward’, we celebrate the achievements last year brought to this important cause, and welcome the insights it has given us.
2015 was a year of momentum and profound realization, as both governments and the private sector voiced a general consensus that the case for corporate gender equality is no longer about the why, but about the how.
EDGE’s work impacts right where ‘work’ happens, deep from within, at company level. And as we work with corporations and organizations all over the world, assessing their gender equality status quo and the desirable changes needed to achieve optimal workplaces for men and women, we see first hand how these companies themselves benefit, once these precise interventions are affected.
Economies need more sustained female participation to grow to their full potential. Companies need access to a wide array of talent in order to maximize their strategies and plans. Employees want to have equal opportunities for their careers. Global data-sets and surveys show that the momentum is finally travelling in the right direction, with growing numbers of female hires throughout industry sectors. Mercer and EDGE thought to investigate these trends more deeply, and keen to unearth potential slow-down factors to this progress, we found the following areas in need of attention.
Yes, more women are being hired in today’s job market, a great sign for change for the better. However, our new findings show that we are far from an ideal world, with female dropout, turnover, career disruption and exit rates being much higher than their male counterparts. More needs to be done to retain and develop this female talent. which could be so enriching to their economies if only fostered more carefully. Companies need to look at building gender equal talent pipelines, which are supported by impactful internal practices and policies, a gender-enlightened company culture and, last but not least, an openly diversity-engaged company leadership.
Achieving gender equality in the workplace is a long-term journey, a behavior, an all-pervasive attitude, not a single decreed solution. In a global economic climate of uncertainty, businesses undergoing the EDGE process and opening up to the proven, economic advantages of an actively managed gender-equal workforce, are already reaping the benefits.
The workplace is currently experiencing notable changes, characterized by economic fluctuations, digital revolutions, disrupted industries, an aging work-force, unsolved talent-gaps, flexible and agile work scenarios – all elements which companies have to contend with and factor into their growth strategies. The EDGE assessment and an active, gender-equal talent management will provide the clarity and transparency needed during these changing times.