Last month the third annual Women in Industry Awards recognised the achievements of women working within industries such as engineering, manufacturing, and logistics. The awards not only raise the profile of women who have achieved success through their leadership, innovation, and commitment to their sector but also encourage and inspire women across all industries.
There is no doubt that female participation across industrial sectors is on the rise with Australian businesses consciously looking at how they attract and retain exceptional female talent.
If you hear that female talent is hard to find, it’s more about knowing where to look. Great talent is out there, it’s just not likely to be in all of the obvious places such as on LinkedIn or even seeking a new opportunity. And those organisations that have identified female talent through alternative networks, particularly those with ‘stretch capabilities’ and earmarked for leadership, will be working exceptionally had to retain that talent.

‘Some organisations are working harder than others to achieve a more balanced workforce.’

Some organisations are working harder than others to achieve a more balanced workforce. In the recruitment industry we’re seeing an increasing number of leaders in these traditionally male-dominated industries recognising the under-utilised pool of talent that women represent. But what’s most exciting to see are the steps these leaders are taking to change organisational culture from the top down including transforming their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) in ways that not only enable them to appeal to female candidates but also set them on a path of success.
For organisations without a clearly articulated EVP, securing top talent, female or male, can be more difficult and often requires organisations to challenge market perceptions, which is where an intermediary can play a critical role in making introductions.

The reasons to strive for gender balance in the workplace are many and varied, but supported by studies that point to benefits from better organisational performance to improvements in happiness among men and greater levels of innovation. A La Trobe Business School study earlier this year also ruled out coincidental links between financial performance and women on boards. The study, which examined around 300 of Australia’s top 500 listed companies between 2005 and 2011, showed those with more women on the board achieved higher financial returns.
So what does building a balanced workforce look like from a practical recruitment perspective?

Internal and external recruitment teams are mandated to shortlist both male and female candidates for every position (but organisations will only hire the best person for the role regardless of gender)
Open talent briefs encourage ongoing engagement with potential female talent whether there is an active job opportunity or not
Interview processes involve female executives with at least one on any interview panel
Blind recruitment is featuring more prominently in recruitment, with any identifiable details such as name, gender, and age removed from the process

If your organisation is actively creating balance in a traditionally male-dominated industry, we’d love for you to share how you began your journey and what you’ve learned along the way. Join the conversation on LinkedIn.