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26 Mar 2024

How benefits can help to hire and retain more women

The benefits of having women in senior leadership roles have become clear - so why are company boards still dominated by men?

How to hire more women in senior roles - and keep them main.jpg


The benefits of gender equity within the workplace, particularly for top-down initiatives, are well known, well documented and certainly well reported. 

But, even in the face of such benefits, gender imbalance, especially across senior leadership and boards, overwhelmingly persists. Globally, male employees occupy an incredible 65-95% of senior roles. 

Effective gender parity strategies often require nuanced approaches that span employee benefits, competency-based hiring and pay and the need for a cultural shift in often deep-rooted biases. 

Not only should strategies focus on upward mobility for women but also on retaining female leaders. 

Improved organisational performance 

Countless studies have shown a clear and definite correlation between women in senior leadership and improved company performance. This not only applies to improved financial performance but extends down into individual employee performance. 

Studies have also shown that an increased number of women on board teams can reduce risk, cutting the incidence of lawsuits, corporate crimes and tarnished organisational reputations. 

Increased innovation

As well as performance, organisations with a higher percentage of women in senior leadership have been found to be more innovative and invest more in innovation. 

This has been attributed to increased diversity, viewpoints and creative approaches to decision-making apparent within gender-equitable senior leadership teams. 

Enhanced employee engagement 

Studies have also found that an increased number of women in senior leadership improves overall employee engagement and retention—regardless of gender or identity. 

Employees from companies with higher proportions of women are more likely to report overall levels of job satisfaction and positive organisational culture. 

Women are more likely to embody empathy and prioritise communication within their leadership style, often driving a more positive and meaningful workplace culture.  

Here are some key strategies for keeping women leaders:

Address gender pay gaps

Despite women in the senior leadership team performing often better than their male counterparts and contributing to better company performance, they still earn significantly less than men. 

Ensuring transparency across pay structures is essential for acquiring top talent and retaining the best female employees. Fair compensation reflective of competency, irrespective of gender, combined with regular reviews and a clear commitment to closing pay gaps is critical. 

Offer fertility and reproductive health benefits

More than 1 million women have left the workplace due to menopausal symptoms and a further one in five employees going through fertility treatment left their jobs within the last five years alone due to lack of support.

Offering fertility and reproductive health benefits has been found to significantly improve retention and employee engagement. These benefits can particularly help female employees, both through challenging life events, like menopause and fertility struggles—but also by mitigating potential future health issues and concerns.

Companies need to remember that women’s hormones affect them for nearly their entire lifespan and the workplace needs to cater for these changes. 

Educate employees on second-generation gender bias

Harvard Business Review recently reported that an integral part of upward organisational mobilisation for women is the removal of second-generation bias. This is often deeply rooted in organisational practices, creating ‘invisible’ barriers for women. 

Bias can lead not only to a fewer women in senior leadership roles but also implicitly hostile working environments for them when they get there. Making employees aware of bias can radically alter attitudes and foster possibilities for meaningful change. 

The future of senior teams 

Forbes recently reported on studies highlighting that a critical mass of a 30% female team is needed to see the benefits of an increased number of female leaders. Forbes similarly reported the need for a reproductive revolution in the workplace. This maps onto things like company performance, competency based pay and employee engagement. 

The need for women within leadership is, evidently, more crucial than ever. The Economist and McKinsey Global Institute estimate that if global workplace gender gaps were bridged, the global economy would surge by 26%.

Any successful 21st century business should adopt a rigorous gender parity strategy focusing not only on upward mobilisation but also retention. 

Contact the Hertility team to learn how we can support you in becoming a Reproductively Responsible™ employer. 

In partnership with Hertility

Hertility is a reproductive health company shaping the future of the workplace. We’re working with forward-thinking companies to proactively support employees across every life stage with end to end care spanning fertility, LGBTQ+ family-forming & menopause. The workplace wasn’t designed with everyone in mind, we’re here to change that. We empower employers to attract, support and retain a diverse, thriving and innovative workforce with expert-led education, comprehensive health screening and policy review Hertility is setting a new standard of care and support in the workplace by empowering organisations to become accredited as Reproductively Responsible™ employers.

Contact us today