The War for Talent Will Be Won by Inclusive Enterprises
Innovative companies are always looking for fresh approaches to attract and retain underutilized sources of talent. That’s why it’s imperative to consider how engaging more women in the global workforce creates a win-win situation for both women and businesses.
As the population ages, and families get smaller, the global talent pool is shrinking. By 2020, employers in developed countries could face a shortage of 40 million highly skilled workers, and emerging economies could face a shortfall of nearly 45 million medium skilled workers, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
One way for organizations to address this talent crisis is to include more women in the global workforce as on average just 60% women are employed in OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, according to a recent report.
Gender inequality in the workplace is a problem across the world. Globally, just 24% of senior management roles are filled by women. In developed countries, the situation is no different – women fill just 21% of senior positions in G7 countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
By increasing levels of female employment, businesses will not only improve their own organizations, but also increase the productivity needed to drive growth in gross domestic products (GDP). Adding more women to the workforce can raise the GDP by 5% in the United States, by 9% in Brazil and by 27% in India, according to a new report by Catalyst.
There are a number of ways organizations can open doors for women, including education. The global percentage of young women attending secondary school is just 58%, according to Catalyst. Interestingly, improving those numbers has multiplying effects. A secondary school education can boost a woman’s wages by 15 to 25 percent. But we also know that women are more likely to reinvest those earnings in their families and communities, including the education of their children.
And while the proportion of women entering colleges and universities is higher than it’s ever been, just 14%of women (versus 39%of men) in higher education are choosing to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Yet, about 40% of new jobs in the next ten years will be in skilled trades or technology.
So we need to partner with educational institutions around the globe to find ways to attract more young people to these fields, and ensure that their courses align with companies’ hiring needs.
Of course, broadening the labor pool through education is just one part of the equation. Companies also need to think about how they can retain skilled talent by creating structures that support women once they enter the workforce.
At Genpact, we’ve put a lot of thought into how we can create and sustain an environment where we can allow people to achieve their full potential over time, and still be able to go through life’s many milestones.
Gender diversity is a strong focus at Genpact – about 40%of our global employees are women, and we constantly strive to increase female participation at the leadership level as well.
We do that by looking for inventive ways to remove obstacles that might prevent women from entering the workforce, including flexible people practices that allow our employees to balance their professional and personal responsibilities, and be effective at work and at home. We identify high-potential employees and run a sponsorship program with senior leaders from my team/direct staff. A recently launched women’s networking forum creates a sounding board to discuss challenges and seek advice and solutions. These resources help Genpact women find a balance through various life events and find a way around potential career roadblocks.
In addition, our meritocracy-driven environment evaluates performance by services delivered and tasks accomplished, rather than how much time is spent behind a desk. And through our Education at Work program, which supports over 10,000 employees in pursuing MBA and domain-specific courses, we provide continuing education opportunities throughout a woman’s career.
With the urgent and growing need for skilled workers, businesses need to find innovative ways to discover, attract, and retain talent. Companies that can evolve their business practices to engage more women into the workforce will have a much better chance at winning the global talent war. Those that don’t will likely be left behind.