Industries, where women are most likely to progress into senior management positions, include education, social services and healthcare. Also, the hospitality sector has management positions held by women, however still not as many as men.
The technology sector has been criticised for its predominantly male workforce over the years, but it’s not just about diversity in the team. When it comes to any industry, variety in the team ticks boxes, but it is actually far more beneficial than just this. Having a diverse workforce gives you different outputs and results too, for example, in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), diversifying who is working in these roles means that there will be more diversity in the questions asked. This can be applied to any industry, banking research for example which is not just about understanding ‘the what’, but about driving change and transformation to the FMCG industry where having a board of men who make the decisions, ask the questions and do the all work will only give limited results and outputs.
As mentioned earlier, some industries are really desperate for women to work in, having typically been stereotyped; it has put women off wanting to work in them and left them to be male-dominated.
The Oil and Gas industry is one field that is facing a shortage of critical skills. It’s really encouraging to know that employment opportunities are always there and that today, the working environment has changed somewhat from long working hours, hardy labour and remote working conditions which in the past discouraged women. It is now an accommodating field to work in as in some cases on-site housing, flexible work schedules, parent-friendly settings and gender-inclusive work are provided.
Similarly, the Automotive industry is looking to recruit women in the field, as it often suffers a shortage of skilled labour. Women who go into the industry are paving the way for more to do so and helping to attract and encourage more women to it. Plus, that research has shown that women can do better jobs in handling vehicles than men.
Women take up only 25% of the Computer Science field; a trend is expected to rise as young girls are being encouraged to take up STEM subjects so they can infiltrate the technology industry.
It is now compulsory for organisations in the UK with over 250 employees to publish their gender pay gaps and as we are seeing more organisations sitting up and taking inequality seriously.
A study by McKinsey found that “While homogeneous groups felt more confident about their decisions than diverse groups, the former groups’ decisions were more often wrong compared to those of diverse groups.” It also showed that companies with top quartile diversity (defined as women and foreign nationals) on their executive boards generated ROE (returns on equity) that were 53% higher, on average, than the companies in the bottom diversity quartile.
A more diverse team, and not just women but diverse with all ages and ethnicities this brings different mindsets. Diversity brings different approaches and various inputs, and as a result, organisations will benefit from an increase in creativity across products, services and processes, diversification to new and different markets, a broader customer base, a better talent pool to recruit from and an increase in market share
As the world is putting a lot of effort to bring women into industries infiltrated by men, it’s now up to women to take the steps and join those industries. The work is out there, and it only takes one strong, brave woman to begin breaking the mould of a company or industry to make a change. Once you’re in, of course, there will still be challenges. The gender pay gap and sexual harassment are hot topics, there is still a way to go to achieve gender equality in the workplace, but people are far more aware of it than ever before, and changes are being made, and people are feeling the consequences of discriminatory behaviour even from the past.
Women have the power to make this positive change through without waiting for men to tell them they’re allowed to do it.