Further to my insight piece on gender and recruitment, it is clear that there are some organisations which are thinking very laterally about how to attract women. Last week’s Times Higher carried the story of a Swiss University that is advertising a post specifically for women.
The move has been termed “aggressive” although it would appear that the Institution recognised that there was the need for drastic action in order to redress the fact that women comprise only 11% of Faculty, so perhaps “aggressive” is not such a bad thing? Aside from questions as to the legality of the proposition, it is interesting that the low number of female applicants for any given role has been noticed. This of course relates to issues around talent pipeline, which again takes us back to considerations around the number of females entering any given profession.
Jamie Oliver has hit the headlines before by making clear his preference for the skills of female employees at his steakhouse “Barbecoa.” However, he has now taken this further and said that there are not enough women working in professional kitchens. Jamie is of course not shy of making sure that his opinions are heard. However, his comments around how difficult it is to attract female employees (again pipeline) and his thoughts on kitchens becoming too “testosterone-filled” if they are male dominated add depth and breadth to the discussion on why diverse professional environments are preferable.
As to how he intends to attract more female talent? The detail around that is less clear, although it is perhaps interesting that our initial research yielded little feedback as to the gender makeup of recruits to his Fifteen Apprentice schemes and this would perhaps be a good place to start in terms of understanding how social intervention can enhance a talent pipeline from a diversity perspective.
Elizabeth James is a Consultant in the Education practice at Berwick Partners and a crusader for gender equality!
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