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Tips for employers to ensure diversity

Earlier in the year, I blogged about being part of the Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) and how they are examining the role of women in the workforce. The APPG is dedicated to helping employers improve their recruitment processes and attract and recruit more women.

The APPG has released some tips for employers which, as Managing Director of a successful recruitment business, I wanted to share.

Advertising the job

We now know that unconscious bias can be prevalent in job adverts. Is the language you are using gendered? Research suggests that words can be subtly coded as feminine or masculine; ‘understanding’ versus ‘logical’ for example. This wording can give away the company’s inclusiveness and culture and is something to bear in mind when advertising roles. Use a gender decoder to assess your messaging. Advertising salary bands can also help close the gender pay gap by making it harder to pay differential rates.

The selection process

Consider ‘name blind’ applications to see what impact that has on your shortlists; I know you will find that interesting.

Again back to unconscious bias, try to have those involved in the interview process trained in this.  Transferable skills from outside the workplace, such as personal responsibilities and voluntary work, are often overlooked in the interview process. Why not talk about those rather than a sole focus on work history and workplace skills? Allow people to draw upon their life experiences, especially those who may have taken a career break. 

Ensuring that prepared, structured interview questions are the same for every applicant is important to give everyone an equal footing, as is allowing a set time for each applicant. As recruiters we agree that providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants is also helpful for their future success.

Improving the pipeline

The APPG points out that reaching out to younger generations – young women and girls still in education – to advertise opportunities that are out there which they may never have considered.  This gives insight into industries that schools may not be promoting. We can definitely relate to this within maritime. I find going into schools and colleges to talk about the shipping industry fulfilling and essential, especially as we can sometimes be a “hidden” industry to the wider world. Many young people still don’t think of maritime as a career option unless they have a family connection.  Consider sponsorships for women’s networks or groups, build yourself a reputation as being committed to equal opportunities.  I am also Membership Secretary of WISTA (Women’s international shipping & trading association) – we have over 3000 members worldwide, let me know if you have females in your business that want to share their professional journey with others, we are always looking for inspiring role models to speak to our members!

These tips for employers are just as relevant to those who use recruitment companies like us – in fact it’s something all hirers should be mindful of if we truly want to have a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Find out more about the Women and Work APPG here:

Teresa Peaock, Managing Director, Spinnaker Global Recruitment

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