Companies in male dominated industries - like banking, energy, technology and manufacturing - need to change the way they recruit female employees if they want to meet diversity targets.
The advice comes from diversity specialist Thatcher Consulting, who helped ING Wholesale Banking see an increase of 38 per cent in the number of female applicants to its 2015/16 Graduate Recruitment Programme, by making its recruitment process more female-friendly.
Charlotte Thatcher, principal consultant at Thatcher Consulting, said: “Most organisations have diversity targets they want to meet - particularly given the Petersen Institute and EY’s very recent research revealing significant correlation between women in leadership and company profitability.
“But many organisations are making fundamental flaws when trying to recruit female employees.”
Industry figures confirm this. While 59 per cent of all graduates are women, only 42 per cent of graduates joining the Association of Graduate Recruiters programmes in 2015 were female.
Thatcher believes a few creative changes to the recruitment process can have a positive impact. ‘By changing the language, images and channels used in recruitment advertising, companies can attract more female applicants.’
ING Wholesale Banking followed her advice.
“We’d historically placed adverts on the Russell Group careers websites and generic recruitment sites,” explains Steven Sinclair, HR relationship manager at ING Wholesale Banking.
“We were advised to change the wording of the advert, we emailed final year female students at specific universities about our graduate programme, and we sent a senior female banker to Queen Mary University of London to speak to students interested in careers in finance.
“The results speak for themselves - a 20 per cent general increase in applicants and a 38 per cent increase in female applicants over the previous year.”