Inclusive recruitment debunking stereotypes

By Agnès Hussherr, PwC Global Human Capital Leader


For better or worse, acknowledging and addressing the existence of stereotypes is a key part of the journey towards creating a truly diverse and inclusive working environment.  Stereotypes hold power and exert influence, so we cannot ignore them, even if we don’t agree with them.  The only effective way to address stereotypes is head on.  And our latest research on inclusive recruitment; Winning the fight for female talent, does just that to a number of gender stereotypes.


We want the same things

Both men and women (almost 5000 respondents from over 70 countries), chose the same 3 most attractive employer traits, (albeit in a different order); opportunities for career progression (number 2 for women, 1 for men), competitive wages and other financial benefits (number 3 for women, 2 for men) and flexible work arrangements and a culture of work life balance (number 1 for women, 3 for men).

These results contradict a previously held notion that career ambition was more of a male characteristic.

Similarly, flexibility and work life balance are not only a key priority for women, making it into men’s top 3 also.  These preferences also reflect the rise of dual-career couples, who will obviously have parallel priorities.  Dual-career couples accounted for 82% of female respondents in PwC’s 2016 global mobility research; Moving Women with purpose


Everyone is negotiating

Almost an equal number of women and men (66% : 67%) negotiated their salary on accepting their most recent role.  This is positive as it directly disputes the assumption that salary negotiation is more of a male trait.  In fact, 37% of women and 39% of men who engaged in negotiations, said it led to an increased offer.  So not only are both women and men actively negotiating their starting salaries, their success rates almost equal.

This proactivity is certainly a step forward for women, and reflects the career confidence and ambition of female millennials (The Female Millennial – a new era of talent).  However, it shouldn’t overshadow the stark gender pay gap, which at current rates of progress will still take up to a century to close in the average OECD country (Women in work index, 2017). 


The pipeline isn’t the problem…



The contrasting results from employers and respondents, in response to what they feel is the most significant barrier to increased levels of female experienced hires, provided a glaring insight into one prevalent stereotype around the female talent pool.  Employers identified the lack of sufficient candidate pool as the main barrier to increasing female experienced hires, which neither female nor male respondents agreed with.  In fact, both cited the impact of stereotypes as the main barrier.

This is a key statistic for organisations to examine in their own context.  In an age of open, instant and real time communication and sharing, an outside-in approach to our talent brands is paramount.  Making assumptions and clinging to stereotypes is simply not an option.

For me, debunking these stereotypes confirms what I’ve known and witnessed throughout my career, that women are as ambitious as men, and professionally we all want a lot of the same things.


Read the full report here: Winning the fight for female talent.


Follow @ahussherr on Twitter 


Contact us

Aoife Flood
Global Diversity & Inclusion Programme, PwC Ireland
Tel: + 353 1792 6459

Anne Freer
Global Diversity & Inclusion Programme
Tel: + 1 832 971 5664

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