By Josephine Victoria Yam, J.D., LLM.
2019 March 26
Read time: 2 minutes
“We are so focused on fixing the leaky pipeline of senior female leaders in our company, ” said the HR Head of a multinational company to me at a recent meeting. “Our company’s talent recruitment efforts are working because we have gender parity at the entry and mid-levels. But as you go higher up the ladder, you will notice that the number of women suddenly declines.”
This is a common refrain we hear all the time. But what gives?
According to a study by the International Consortium for Executive Development Research (ICEDR), HR leaders believe that women leave the workplace because of family demands or lack of workplace flexibility.
But when women were asked why they left, they provided a totally different answer. The reason was neither motherhood nor flexibility. Surprise! It was compensation. Yup, you read it right. Fair compensation (or the lack thereof) is the primary reason that influence women to leave their employers.
In a Harvard Business Review article, author Christie Arscott noted that women actually care about pay. In fact, it’s the top reason why they leave a company. They find a higher paying job elsewhere. This happens when women realize that they're paid a lower salary than their male peers for the very same job.
The reasons why women are paid a lower salary are well-documented. In her New York Times article author Tara Seigel Bernard named the usual suspects that cause the yawning pay gap:
So what can you do to stop women from leaving your workplace? Here are three suggestions:
By ensuring fair compensation for all employees, your company can fix the leaky pipeline of senior female leaders. And in doing so, it moves closer to eventually winning the fierce war for top talent.
When employees cover at work, they downplay their uniqueness. They feel they don’t belong. When a company helps its employees express their authentic selves, they focus their attention on work, rather than hiding parts of themselves. A company’s uncovering efforts create a strong culture of inclusion.
Despite their rhetoric of being diversity and inclusion champions, many global companies still get into big trouble for bias and racism.
Starbucks closed its 8,000 U.S. stores and 1,100 Canadian stores to provide its 100,000 + employees with compulsory diversity training. H&M provided diversity and anti-racism training to its marketing management teams globally.
But is diversity training enough to reduce bias?
Many large corporations already provide their employees with diversity training. After all, they know that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is a source of competitive advantage. According to McKinsey, companies with strong D&I cultures perform better than their competitors. They're better in attracting top talent. Better in customer understanding. Better in employee engagement and retention.
But is diversity training enough to change employee behaviour?
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