Focus on diversity and career progression to win female talent - Pwc

08 Mar 2017
Financial Nigeria


Organisations are using innovative programmes to attract key female talent. For example, return-ship programmes are proving to be a successful bridge for talented professionals to return to work after an extended career break.

Uyi Akpata, Country Senior Partner, PwC Nigeria

PricewaterhouseCoopers has released a new report, showing that both women and men consider opportunities for career progression to be among the top three most attractive employer traits. The report was released today to mark the International Women’s Day.

Pwc said the report – Winning the fight for female talent: How to gain the diversity edge through inclusive recruitment – looks at what employers can do to attract and retain female talent and underscores the importance of embedding diversity and inclusion into the employer brand.

“When you look at what drives job satisfaction, people clearly seek opportunities for career progression,” said Uyi Akpata, Country Senior Partner at PwC Nigeria. “Putting in place formal career progression plans is one way of making sure employees remain motivated and committed to the organisation. Looking forward, this will be increasingly important as CEOs work to attract and retain the best talent in a highly competitive world.”

Pwc surveyed 4,792 professionals (3,934 women, 845 men) with recent experience of the jobs market from 70 countries and from different organisations to find out about their career aspirations and employer diversity experiences and expectations. The consulting firm also surveyed 328 executives with responsibility for diversity or recruitment strategies in their respective organisations to explore current diversity trends and practices within employer attraction and selection activities.

The results showed that female and male respondents ranked opportunities for career progression among the top three employer traits, along with competitive wages and flexible work arrangements. Female career starters and female millennials identified this as the most attractive employer trait, as did women overall in Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the UAE. The report also found that women who had recently changed employers said a lack of opportunities for career progression was the top reason they left their former employer (35 percent).

Organisations are using innovative programmes to attract key female talent. For example, return-ship programmes are proving to be a successful bridge for talented professionals to return to work after an extended career break. Over a quarter (28 percent) of employers have already adopted a formal returner programme, and a further 25 percent are currently exploring this opportunity, suggesting employers are recognising the potential of these programmes.

“In today’s highly competitive job market, it is incumbent on every organisation to revisit its policies and processes to make sure they are meeting the needs of the modern workforce, in particular the woman of today who is truly a trailblazer,” said Obioma Ubah, Partner and Diversity & Inclusion Leader at PwC Nigeria. “Women today are looking for much more from their careers than previous generations – and organisations need to keep up if they are to secure the talent they need to grow their business.”

The survey revealed that just over three quarters (76 percent) of employers have incorporated diversity and inclusion into their employer brands – and this rises to 88 percent of companies with more than 10,000 employees.

But the report also highlights that just talking about diversity as part of an employer brand is no longer enough. When deciding whether or not to work for an employer, over half (56 percent) of women are looking to see active diversity progress. This rises to 61 percent for female career starters. Meanwhile, 61 percent of women and 49 percent of men look at the diversity of an employer’s leadership team when deciding to accept their most recent position.

And 67 percent of women explored if their employer had positive role models who were similar to them when deciding to accept their most recent position, rising to 76 percent for female career starters. This factor was particularly important to women working in sectors that are widely regarded as relatively male-dominated, such as FinTech (85 percent), Engineering and Construction (82 percent) and Asset Management (78 percent).

“Gender equality is not a zero sum game  --  it will bring better opportunities to men and women alike (including at leadership levels), will benefit the economy, and will help all of us work better across various differences,” Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC, said in a recent blog post. “Eradicating societal gender-based pigeonholes and enabling both genders to contribute equally in business and their personal lives are win-wins.”

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