Maxwell Stephens

Is Gender Diversity Still A Problem?

Although some big strides have been made when it comes to Gender equality, it seems that we still have quite a way to go – according to some research it could take up to 135 years the workplace to be equal!

Can we ever be equal though?

Barriers to becoming equal may include:

  1. Societal attitudes – this is the unspoken stereotypes and beliefs about what men do and what women do.
  2. Organisational – this can be culturally or structurally, businesses may culturally lean toward having more men.
  3. Personal – what women choose to do such as having children.

Some of these barriers are reflected in the number of women who are at the top – only 8.2% of Fortune 500 US companies and 7.2% of FTSE 250 UK companies’ CEOs are female.

Areas of psychological research explore gender perceptions and stereotypes, in particular the roles men and women play in society. This paired with sociological data suggests that women are usually the ones who take on caring responsibilities, with a tendency to spend more time doing unpaid labour such as household chores and childcare.

Although this may seem old fashioned, research suggests that it is the case for many women that they work a full-time job yet are often still expected to manage a home.  This in turn means they may have less time to dedicate to their careers or take on a more demanding job.

Following on from this point, research suggests that women tend to need flexible working which brings in proximity basis, where those who are in the office often get the opportunities. Does this then put women at a disadvantage?

This brings us on to topic of recruitment. Employers need to ensure that they are not limiting diversity in the workplace, using recruitment and talent acquisition strategies that assess aspects such as an individual’s soft skills, personality and cultural fit. For example, if a role was previously held by a man who had 10 years’ experience and no gaps in his CV, the employer may develop unconscious bias and a preconceived idea of what a good fit for the job will “look like”.

Despite great efforts to ensure workplaces are equal, unfortunately there is still work to be done in the area of workplace diversity. It appears that we need to shift our minds to focus on skills and work ethic. By building this inclusive culture we will see more innovative ideas. Employers need to ensure they educate themselves on by questioning this, reading about it, caring about it and being aware.

When we consider gender diversity in the FM industry, it still seems to be a relatively male dominated industry. This has been reflected in our recently release Facilities Management Salary Survey, as 69% of the respondents were male. When this is compared to previous survey results there has only been a 1% increase in women in the industry. Despite this only being a small increase it is encouraging to see the apparent gender gap in the industry is closing. It is even more encouraging to see an increase of women in senior positions. Within the respondents of the survey it is shown that 27% of senior positions are filled by females (Director/Head of FM, Regional FM, Senior FM). This too has shown an increase since our last survey suggesting a continuing trend.

If you want to read more about this and other trends within the FM sector, please follow the link below to download our latest Salary Survey.

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