Talking menopause in the workplace

As Chair of Southeastern’s Women in Rail Empowerment (WIRE) group, Natalie Leister has spearheaded an initiative to raise awareness of menopause symptoms and provide greater support for employees impacted. She discusses what has been implemented, her learnings and why it’s so important for other employers to follow suit.
Breaking the stigma
Nearly two-thirds of women in the workplace experiencing the menopause say it has a negative impact on their work, citing issues such as reduced concentration, increased stress, confusion and a lack of confidence. Yet only 5 percent of UK businesses have a dedicated menopause policy.

"Menopause has just been that taboo topic that nobody talks about – not even your Mum!" says Leister. "Your mother talks to you about going through puberty and childbirth, but not about this. Yet it’s a natural phase in a woman’s life – the conversation needs to be normalised."

With more women increasingly going through the menopause during their working lives, ...

 

 

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Hidden bias: How companies can tackle unfair recruitment practices

Despite anti-discrimination laws, recruiter bias is as prevalent now as it was 50 years ago, and prejudices about gender, ethnicity and age are limiting people’s job prospects. The knock-on effects on society and business are serious, so what can recruiters do to reduce the effect of implicit bias on who gets hired?
The bias crisis: what’s in a name?
Writing the perfect CV isn’t easy. Each word must be carefully chosen to maximise the chances of landing your dream job. But what if the most important word in the document isn’t about your education, career history or experience but is simply your name?

Researchers at the Centre for Social Inequality in Oxford sent thousands of similar fake CVs to a wide range of employers. The only difference between  them was the applicant’s name and the inclusion of a second language, designed to signal the sender’s ethnicity. On average, people thought to be from ethnic minorities had to send 60% more CVs to get a similar chance of a call-back, d...

 

 

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Writing better job ads

The language and appearance of your job ad can enhance its appeal to women, or it can put them off. How can you ensure women apply for your vacancies?

Research has shown that the way you write and design your jobs ads can significantly affect the balance of genders among applicants. Your choice of words, typeface and colour can make a difference to the kinds of candidates who can imagine themselves ‘at home’ in your organisation and, thus, who applies. This is not necessarily a conscious process, but these choices will affect whether you connect with a diverse applicant pool, and evidence from the tech industry shows the genderedness of the ad will affect whether you end up appointing a man or a woman.

A job ad advertises more than just the job. It represents the institutional culture of the employer, and gives an insight into the attitudes and values of the current staff. So when crafting an ad, you should:

Use gender-neutral language
Think about how you use ...

 

 

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Providing relocation support

Starting a new job in a new town can be a daunting experience for anyone. However, for women, whether established professionals or recent graduates, the stresses can be even greater. Women are more likely to have dependant relatives, so may be disrupting much more than their own life in order to take up your job offer. Paying attention to the broader needs of a woman’s partner and, potentially, family will take thought, time, effort and sometimes money. But it will also make you a much more attractive employer and will help to ensure that you really do hire and retain the best talent.

A prospective employer can therefore usefully think more broadly about relocation for women:

Understand graduate trends
Start providing information early
Offer relocation expenses
Provide advice on where to live
Allow time for settling in
Be flexible, fair and transparent

Understand graduate trends
Despite the widespread assumption that young women don’t have the same family res...

 

 

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Shortlisting and interviewing women

The shortage of qualified STEM professionals is one symptom of the fact that well- trained women are not progressing in their careers at the same rate as their male colleagues. Indeed, evidence shows that female graduates are more likely to take lower quality jobs than men. That discrepancy persists throughout women’s careers, not least because traditional recruitment techniques can deter women and fail to reveal their talents.

To achieve a more diverse workforce in STEM, your appointment processes may need to change to accommodate the differing needs of women applicants. To support the recruitment and retention of women, you could:

Ensure that the selection committee is diverse
Scrutinise your shortlisting process
Use consistent language
Select according to explicit criteria
Think about the long term

Ensure that your selection committee is diverse
Diverse hiring panels reduce implicit bias and increase the chance that all candidates will be assessed fairly. Man...

 

 

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