Gender Diversity – A Seagulls Chip Paradise

It’s a beautiful Perth summer afternoon down at the beach. You’ve enjoyed a swim, and some beach cricket. It’s time for a bite to eat and you grab that warm bucket of chips. Coated in salt, swimming in vinegar, the chip dances on your tongue like your bare feet on hot bitumen. Soon you are surrounded by a gaggling flock of gulls scrambling, begging for that last chip.
Sadly our approach to gender diversity is pretty much the same. The vast majority of employers, whilst creating better, more attractive workplaces, they are actually playing the short game. Squabbling over the existing workforce, and not addressing the real issue – supply.
[bctt tweet=”Stop managing gender diversity like seagulls fighting after that last chip says @stanrolfe” username=”ATCevent”]
Unlimited leave, full pay parental leave, flexible work practices, gender neutral advertising and the list goes on. All these things entice an employee to leave one place and go to another. Employer A tries to outplay Employer B whilst Employer D shakes their head struggling to keep up with and offer some of these incentives and approaches.
How much does all these cost? Anyone knows? Does it all work? Anyone measuring the success of all these activities? Sure, Employer B has increased their ratio, but what about retention? Employer A’s ratio has declined and is forced to change tact, salaries are now increasing (hopefully to match the male equivalent!) to attract back the employee from Employer B. And around we go.
Hold your thought for a minute as I take a slight deviation.
I’m a father of two young boys, and I’m not sure at what point this occurred but my boys associate McDonald’s with kids toys. Happy meals, nuggets and chip = toy. They know there are boy’s toys and girl’s toys. What do you want for dinner? “Nuggets and chips!” A lifelong affair begins, rightly or wrongly.
Now, back to my original point – why aren’t employers playing the long game?
Employer D knows they can’t compete with A and B and so decides to create a female figurine, a heroine, a cartoon, a comic, or a brand figure. Think Dr McStuffins – the Disney cartoon, or a site like where young girls can learn engineering. If you apply the same approach to your marketing as McDonald’s does with our kids, think of the potential supply to your organisation longer term!
But that doesn’t help me now, you say! Actually, it will. If done properly, what do you think will happen with those mums of those daughters? They will appreciate what you are doing and creating for their daughters, and may take an interest in Employer D as a leader in the gender diversity race for equality.
[bctt tweet=”.@stanrolfe believes it’s time to get to the root of the gender diversity issue in hiring – supply. ” username=”ATCevent”]
That’s just one approach to increasing supply. How about re-training, upskilling all those women who are currently not in the workforce? Check out what CEB and LiveHire are doing in the technology sector as an example. They are partnering with companies to attract 100,000 women into the technology industry.
What a great initiative. Creating supply to meet demand. We can keep on fighting over the finite resources available, but without increasing the supply we’ll never succeed in a truly diverse gender balanced workforce.
What are you doing to increase supply?
Image: Shutterstock

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