Employers in traditionally male-dominated industries can use flexible benefits and a diversity-minded approach to hiring to attract more female talent, says Deirdre Chong-Smith, a compensation consultant at Eckler Ltd.
“Something that tends to get overlooked when thinking about an inclusive workplace is having a flexible benefits package that can cover any type of person or lifestyle,” she says, noting whether employers tailor their benefits to add caregiver leave or increase vacation time, having flexibility makes a big difference.
Tailoring uniforms and PPE in male-dominated professions with every body type in mind can also help employers demonstrate inclusivity, Chong-Smith adds. And a diversity-focused approach to recruitment can support women looking to enter traditionally male-dominated work sectors like technology, she says, noting even the wording of job postings can have an impact on the amount of female hires.
But some organizations are helping to build a pipeline of women in the technology sector, diversify hiring and reduce wage gaps, she points out, noting members of these organizations get access to a community of women in tech, online workshops, in-person events, job hunt and interview resources and even legal advice.
“I think [organizations like this help] fill a major gap, especially where you might not be on a recruiter list or have a reputation in the industry yet. There are other wonderful organizations [coming together] that support female entrepreneurship and as these groups pop up it helps elevate the status of women.”
Pay equity legislation is also making a difference, says Chong-Smith, noting organizations that are federally regulated are now required to comply with these standards. “It’s an interesting way for organizations to take ownership because it’s not just an internal initiative; the reporting is public. It puts the onus of action on the organization to work on closing the wage gap.”