Data-Driven Recruiting

Breaking Barriers: Strategies for Building a Gender-Diverse Workforce through Effective Recruitment

Brandice Payne | Author

Brandice Payne

Senior Manager, Content & Customer Marketing

Posted on

January 19, 2024

Businesses are starting to witness results that a diverse team brings to their organizations. There are tangible benefits to bottom-line profit, employee productivity, and brand perception when teams are diverse.

While all types of diversity, such as ethnicity, age, and socio-economic background, are essential for business success, gender diversity remains challenging for organizations. That challenge becomes apparent when looking at Pew Research data that shows the gender pay gap hasn’t improved, with 2022 numbers showing women still only make $0.82 for every dollar that men make.   

One of the keys to gender diversity—when people of all genders are represented within your employee base—is to commit to equitable compensation practices. This starts when making offers to candidates and continues with your promotion and pay practices. It’s important to ensure candidates with the same roles and experience receive equal pay, regardless of their gender. 

It’s important to keep in mind that gender diversity is not about equal numbers of employees but rather a fundamental culture shift where everyone feels respected, safe, and valued regardless of their gender. Let’s explore gender diversity in depth and what you can do to create an inclusive workplace that values all genders. 

The Business Imperative for Gender Diversity

Businesses have a real incentive to create gender equality in the workforce, with benefits ranging from higher profits to improved team coherence. There are even more reasons why organizations should introduce gender-neutral hiring practices and inclusive recruitment initiatives, including: 

  • Higher levels of productivity and profitability – Productivity and profitability go hand-in-hand, and a Harvard Business Review article suggests a 10% increase in gender diversity in hiring translates to a 7% increase in a company’s market value. 

  • Improved employee retention – That same HBR article also states that having diverse talent creates a more attractive company culture for potential candidates. However, current employees also value that commitment, which translates to higher retention levels. 

  • Creates an inclusive workforce – Gender diversity fosters sensitivity to different perspectives, such as using inclusive language. Inclusive workplaces allow employees of all genders to feel safe sharing their opinions, ideas, and feedback without judgment. 

  • Better decision-making – Promoting inclusive viewpoints enables organizations to engage in more effective problem-solving for complex issues. Improved problem-solving supports decision-making because leaders have more information to work from and alternative viewpoints that empower unique approaches to problems.  

  • Greater motivation – Female applicants who see gender diversity in senior-level leadership positions have more motivation that their work will lead to promotions. In fact, 61% of female applicants consider gender diversity in C-suite leadership roles when making employment decisions. 

  • Improves employer brand – Modern employees want more diverse workplaces, and a 2015 PwC report found that most (85%) of millennial women look for diversity in the workplace before making an employment decision. That means businesses can expand talent pools by fostering equal opportunities for female candidates. 

Of course, these are just a handful of the benefits that companies can experience by fostering gender diversity. 

Overcoming Challenges in Gender Diversity Recruiting

While there are many benefits associated with gender diversity, there are still many disparities in pay and promotion opportunities. Several core challenges start during the recruitment process, including: 

  • Unconscious bias – Hiring processes can have unconscious gender biases, like favoring male applicants for a variety of reasons. These biases are prevalent in traditionally homogenous industries like construction, engineering, and automotive. Human resource teams can eliminate these issues with blind resumes and diverse interview panels. 

  • Neglecting to source diverse candidates – More than 40% of women will not respond to job ads they feel less than 100% qualified for. Hiring managers can attract more female talent by boosting outreach efforts, as suggested by the data compiled in Gem’s 2023 Recruiting Benchmarks report

  • Not emphasizing retention and inclusion – Retaining top, diverse talent is nearly impossible when the company culture doesn’t value DEI. Businesses can support a diverse culture by implementing mentorship programs, comprehensive onboarding initiatives, and developing inclusive promotion practices. 

  • Lack of diversity in leadership – Diverse management teams enjoy 19% higher revenue rates, yet businesses still have a glaring lack of women in leadership roles. Organizations can implement pathways to leadership programs and encourage women to apply. 

Crafting Inclusive Job Descriptions and Employer Branding

Female candidates are less likely to apply for job postings when they don’t feel confident they meet all the requirements. There are a few ways you can craft more inclusive job descriptions and improve your employer branding simultaneously, such as:

  • Eliminating non-inclusive language

  • Minimizing corporate jargon and focusing on specific requirements

  • Outlining a commitment to DEI 

  • Including benefits for female applicants like paid parental leave, professional development, and flexible work options

  • Highlighting inclusive initiatives to attract diverse talent. 

Social media and job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed are making it easier to modify job titles, descriptions, and requirements to attract more diverse talent. With Gem, you can take it a step further by staying on top of all requisitions for more than 20 sourcing channels. 

Targeted Outreach and Networking

The reluctance of female applicants to apply for positions means recruiters must rely on outreach to find qualified talent. As Gem found in 2023, outreach remains an incredibly useful tool, but a few tactics can improve efforts.

Recruiters using personalized subject lines are more likely to receive responses from candidates. Likewise, timing is vital, as messages sent on days like Sunday and Monday have stronger response rates compared with those sent on Fridays. 

Inclusive Interviewing and Selection Practices

The interview process is another area of opportunity businesses should look at when focusing on gender-diverse hiring. Hiring teams can eliminate initial unconscious biases by utilizing technology that produces blind resumes, uses AI to remove demographic details, and focuses on skills and experience. 

Hiring teams can also leverage diverse interview panels that reflect the diversity of your company and collect different perspectives to provide a more well-rounded view of a candidate. Likewise, offering video interviews and remote screening options can help source qualified female candidates. 

Transform Your Workforce with Gem's Talent Acquisition Software

Gender diversity is just one aspect of diversity in modern workplaces. However, with glaring issues like pay gaps and disparities at leadership levels, there is still much that businesses can do to address the challenges women face when finding employment. 

Businesses can see benefits by improving gender diversity in their company cultures, such as increased market value, higher levels of productivity, and better decision-making. Despite these benefits, several challenges still prevent organizations from doing more. 

A combination of strategic effort and DEI-focused software can help eliminate the hurdles companies encounter when introducing gender diversity hiring. Gem’s talent acquisition software makes it easier and quicker to find qualified female talent. Check out a demo, and see how Gem can improve your hiring! 


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