Let’s all acknowledge that women were probably the first few remote workers. More than a hundred years ago, “housewives” would take on additional work like sewing, ironing or light manufacturing to do at home. Later on, women still stayed home for childcare, while starting to juggle office tasks with household duties. In today’s work environment, we still discuss the gender pay gap, lack of female leadership, and the need for flexibility for the female workforce. Companies allowing partial or completely remote work provide this flexibility. In turn, this has led to more empowered females at all levels of the organisation.
A study conducted by Remote.co states that 29% of completely remote companies have either women CEOs, founders, or presidents. In stark contrast, only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are female. According to workforce.com, 57% of remote female employees reported being promoted last year, compared to only 35% of in-office ones. These women were also significantly more likely than their in-office counterparts to report growth in their current roles (80 % versus 60% respectively).
So why hire women remotely…
1.Build gender diversity and equity
Hiring women helps address the infamous gender gap, which is good for business. Diversity in general leads to more creativity and innovation. But in addition, studies have found out that having a larger number of women on a team accounts for greater psychological safety, team confidence, group experimentation, and team efficiency. All of these are key aspects to keep a remote team successful.
2. Develop better leadership
According to an analysis by Harvard Business Review, women outscored men on 17 of 19 capabilities that differentiate excellent leaders from average or poor ones. These key capabilities range from taking initiative, resilient, results-oriented, high on integrity, skilled at developing teams among others.
3. Tap into a “hidden” global talent pool
Women leave their jobs three times more likely than their male colleagues (24% vs 7% respectively) according to the Network of Executive Women. Women leave the workforce for various reasons. Top of the list is a lack of flexibility, with work no longer compatible with other life choices. Other factors include living in rural areas or salary. Remote-friendly employers have the option to hire these women. By providing career opportunities and flexibility, they will be able to attract top female talent and bring them back to the workforce.
How to hire more women in your remote workforce
Understanding how to attract top female talent is key to building a balanced remote workforce. A flexible work-“place” is inherent to remote companies, but it’s just one aspect of the flexibility women value. Flexible working hours, and overall family-friendly policies, attract mothers, and are also relevant for women without children.
Female talent also highly regards companies showing their commitment to empowering women in their workforce, and proving their diversity and inclusion efforts. One of the ways to create the right impression is to authentically present your company’s remote culture and its values. Employee testimonials should include women sharing their experience at the company, describe its culture and highlight their growth.
When it comes to female job applicants, it all begins with defining the hiring process and drafting job descriptions. Job descriptions should always use gender-neutral words. If possible they should state salary ranges as well as women-friendly benefits. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, men already apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the requirements. Women, on the other hand, apply only if they meet 100% of requirements. To avoid missing out on female talent, remote companies need to emphasise which skills are definite “must-haves”, and which are “good-” or “nice to have” skills.
How to retain a female workforce
A study by the UK job board Jobsite reports 76% of female tech professionals would be more likely to stay with a company offering remote work options. By providing women the flexibility to pursue their careers and raise a family at the same time remote companies can help minimise the gender gap over time.
Remote companies should spend their time and effort in creating a safe and inclusive workplace for women to empower them to achieve their full potential. A few potential initiatives are
- – Introducing leadership training programs for new managers on how to lead their teams more inclusively. They should also be trained on gender equality to address any discrimination that may arise in their teams. This should also include training to eliminate unconscious bias.
- – Offering regular mentor programs for all employees across all levels to create a sense of guidance, mentoring and support
- – Designing a zero tolerance policy against harassment to create a safe space for all employees. For example, Github crafted an Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy for all internal and external interactions. They include those with customers, vendors, and other community members.
Our team at acework almost exclusively consists of women, starting with Angelina Ebeling, our founder. We believe in empowering women across levels and have built a diverse and inclusive team. This ranges from talent management led by Fareen Shaikh, candidate experience led by Renée Johnson, and Jess Morgan who makes sure the marketing wheels are always running.
Looking to add top female talent to your remote workforce? Sign up to the acework platform to access to our vetted pool of remote-ready candidates.