We’ve been talking about gender parity in the workplace for a long time. Has the needle moved? Yes and no. Pre-pandemic, women were making 84% of their male counterparts, a number that has remained relatively stable for 15 years. In its 2021 Women in the Workplace study, McKinsey reports slight increases (1-5%) in the representation of women in managerial ranks. That’s the good news.
But COVID has had a more negative impact on working women. More than 10.6 million women lost their jobs or left the labor force during the pandemic, compared to 9 million men. Women’s labor force participation rate is still about a percentage point lower than before the pandemic, when it was the highest on record. As of January 2022, men have recouped all their job losses — but not women. These pay equity and representation gains have significantly eroded in the last two years.
What’s at stake?
The most immediate problem for employers is the tight labor market. Companies are losing out on much-needed talent if there are barriers to women reentering the workforce, like a lack of good daycare, benefits, equal pay, and opportunity.
McKinsey found that women leaders have stepped up significantly during the pandemic, supporting their teams and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts more than their male colleagues. However, they are getting burned out at a much higher rate. The research also uncovered that these leaders are not recognized for these behaviors. The result of the equation? Burnout + lack of recognition = the search for another job.
Decades of research have demonstrated women’s value to the workforce in general and leadership in particular.
- Companies with more gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability and 27% more likely to outperform their peers on longer-term value creation.
- Companies with more diversity in their management saw an increase of 38% in revenue, on average, from innovative products and services than companies with less diversity.
- Organizations with inclusive business cultures and policies are more likely to experience more creativity, innovation, and openness (59.1%) and a better understanding of consumer interest and demand (37.9%).
- Closing the gender gap by 2025 could add $12 trillion to $28 trillion to the value of global GDP.
Removing Barriers in the Hiring Process
Organizations have been working hard at removing bias from the hiring process for decades. Aptitude Research found that almost two-thirds (63%) of companies rely on training recruiters and hiring managers to reduce bias. That’s great. But it’s not enough. Unconscious bias can weave its way into every step along the hiring continuum, from recruitment to reviewing resumes to interviewing and to the ultimate decision of whom to hire.
Fortunately, research-based AI technology has significantly advanced. AI can automate more recruiting activities intelligently and without bias. However, only a quarter (27%) of companies are using AI recruiting technology. Moreover, many of these new AI recruiting tools are not backed by science and research. The danger is that bias can become encoded in the system because it’s based on inaccurate data. A well-known example occurred when Amazon discovered that its AI recruiting models were less favorable to women because they were based on ten years of resumes of primarily white male employees.
Modern Hire’s recruiting tools integrate decades of industrial-organizational research, predictive analytics, and AI technology to deliver a data-driven hiring experience. These tools remove bias by basing screening, assessments, and interviewing on only job-related factors. For example, with Modern Hire’s Automated Interview Creator, recruiters pick from questions based on competencies and behaviors critical to success in that job. Automated Interview Scoring, natural language processing, and deep learning ensure fairer, more objective, and accurate hiring decisions. The result is an evaluation that is consistent and compliant and proven to be three times less biased than human interview scorers.
In this tight labor market, talent is hard to find and keep. Increasing female participation in the workforce isn’t just a “nice thing to do.” It’s essential. Modern Hire’s end-to-end hiring platform delivers valid candidate data at every step to enable selection decisions based on data, not bias.