What are you offering female employees?
Mark.Freed / 28 Jan 2020
Why it’s time to drop the stereotypes
I am a middle-aged man. At some point, though I’m trying not to think about it, I’ll have to start dropping the ‘middle’ and replace it with ‘old’. As a white middle-class man of a certain age, people will think of me in certain way. They may expect me to like football or rugby, drink wine or beer, go cycling at the weekends or play golf. I probably won’t have tattoos or fully understand the power of social media. I will read The Times or The Telegraph and when I watch the TV, it will mainly be the BBC.
In terms of my career, I am expected to be thinking of retiring, I am in a job I hate or have lost my passion for and I am counting down the days, while topping up my pension. I will not understand diversity, women or much about the modern world. I’m out of touch and out of date. I can’t cook or do the washing and ironing.
Now, it’s fair to say that some of the above is true, but not much! I have my own personal interests, needs and desires – just as we all do.
The strange thing is that when it comes to senior roles, it’s likely that a prospective employer will take the time to understand me as a person, at least to an extent, so they can offer me something that will encourage me to make the move over to them. They won’t just tell me about their box at Twickenham and their great wine cellar and then expect me to jump at the chance.
But this process seems to fall apart with senior female employees. Not only is there little indication that companies want to understand them as individuals, they don’t even bother to offer them the right clichés. It’s all talk about creches, childcare and flexible working.
Now these are important developments for an industry that has habitually ignored women, but they’re also developments (generally speaking) for women at an earlier stage in their careers.
Fixing the gender pay gap is about finding and recruiting top women into senior roles – and to do that companies need to put in the time and effort to understand what each of them wants.
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