No More ‘Boys Jobs’ and ‘Girl Jobs’October 7, 2014
I grew up in a small family with my mother and two brothers. Being well versed in the art of delegation, my mother kept her three sons and the house in order by making us share all the household chores. In some families there are ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girl jobs’ but my brothers and I shared all the jobs: cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn and everything in between.
When I graduated from university and entered the workforce, I wasn’t paying any attention to gender balance.As I advanced in my career I began to notice the demographics around me changing. Gradually I could see the gender balance tipping to one side from 50-50 to 60-40 to 70-30… The higher I went, the more men were dominating the space leaving fewer and fewer openings for women. The glass ceiling wasn’t just keeping women down, it was keeping our teams down, it was keeping our organization down and it was limiting our potential.
When the time came to form my own teams I wanted to make the smartest decisions. I wanted to have the best people and that meant getting the diverse perspectives from a balanced team. This has been achievable for us because, during my time at Sodexo, we’ve grown exponentially, become more profitable, and increased employee engagement.
40% of Sodexo’s senior leadership team is comprised of women and although I’m happy with that progress, there’s more to be done. And it’s not just at the top of the organization we have to focus on – the entire organization has to hold itself accountable and set clear goals. We need more than just good intentions.
A part of our plan is challenging our own assumptions about who should be doing which jobs. Facilities Management is a competitive space for talent and our business needs more women in engineering, operations, and project management roles. It’s crucial for women to be strongly considered for operations roles and facilities management roles because failing to consider them could cause us to miss out on the best candidates. And,like my mother taught me, there is no such thing as ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girl jobs’ there are just jobs and everyone should have access to all of them.
Dean Johnson is the CEO of North America Service Operations at Sodexo.