- While the staffing industry has a balance of both men and women in its workforces, women are underrepresented in senior leadership roles, according to Feb. 26 survey results from the Women Business Collaborative.
- There also is an accompanying pay gap and a lack of racial diversity, with "people of color comprising well under 10% of all staff," according to the organization.
- The results show "a significant opportunity to drive opportunity for promotion and pay equity in leadership roles," Edie Fraser, CEO of the Women Business Collaborative, said in a statement announcing the results. "By encouraging a more diverse and equitable workforce composition across those businesses supporting this industry, we will by default better represent the workers we employ."
The staffing industry is hardly alone in its imbalance; the tech industry, in particular, has made headlines in recent years for its attempts to improve diversity in leadership. Intel, for example, last year said it would strive to double the number of women and underrepresented groups in senior leadership during the next decade.
Some efforts have focused on pipelines: IBM is working with education leaders to bring STEM opportunities to Latino and Hispanic communities, for example. Others hope gender-neutral language in job listings will attract more women or that diverse hiring panels will improve diversity among new hires.
Experts, however, caution that while diversity is a key starting point, employers must focus on inclusion as well. To that end, some suggest HR flag for managers the individuals who may need to be considered for a promotion. High performing employees may need mentorship or sponsorship. Pay equity audits may help with retention, and succession planning can help HR achieve long-term goals.
Even with those efforts in place, however, a gender balance at the top could take some time. A 2019 IBM study predicted that women won't reach leadership parity with men until 2073, citing a lack of accountability and businesses that aren't yet sold on the value of advancing women.