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Tag: Gender bias

Economic volatility hampers diversity

A recently released report by Hired, a tech and sales jobs platform, highlights how economic instability has derailed progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within organizations. Despite the efforts of hiring leaders, the report reveals that recruitment bias continues to persist in 56% of industries.

In the tech industry, the “2023 Impact Report: State of Wage Inequality in the Tech Industry” emphasizes the ongoing existence of hiring bias. In 2022, 38% of positions only extended interview requests to men, marking an increase from the 37% reported in 2021.

Hired CEO, Josh Brenner, commented on the current state of affairs, stating, “Recent economic volatility, concerns regarding the impact of automation and AI on jobs, and the implementation of salary transparency laws have caused significant disruption within the tech workforce. Regrettably, many companies have deprioritized DEI initiatives, while wage inequality continues to disproportionately affect underrepresented groups.”

The report identifies the most prevalent hiring biases as gender bias at 17%, followed by racial bias at 12%, and age bias at 11%. Furthermore, certain demographic groups, such as women and racial and ethnic minorities, face a disproportionate impact from wage bias.

Additionally, the report uncovers how economic instability has hindered the progress of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives among the surveyed organizations. Approximately 20% of respondents reported scaling back their DEI initiatives, while 12% expressed concerns that continued economic challenges may jeopardize their DEI programs.

Despite these setbacks, the report indicates that 99% of recruiters are actively working to ensure fairness in their hiring practices. Moreover, 59% of recruiters believe that hiring bias has significantly decreased compared to three years ago.

The survey utilized proprietary data from Hired’s platform spanning from January 2018 to December 2022. Additionally, it incorporated survey responses from 229 tech hiring leaders and 1075 tech employees and job seekers in the United States.

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Goldman Sachs settles gender bias class action

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $215 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the company of committing gender bias. The settlement will cover around 2,800 female Associates and Vice-Presidents who worked at the company’s Investment Banking, Investment Management, or Securities Divisions in New York from July 7, 2002, to March 28, 2023, and those who worked elsewhere in the United States between September 10, 2004, through March 28, 2023. The lawsuit was first filed against Goldman Sachs in September 2010, alleging that the company committed class-wide gender discrimination in pay, performance evaluation, and promotion. The settlement will prevent a trial that was set to begin in June.

As part of the agreement, Goldman Sachs has agreed to engage with independent experts to conduct additional analysis on performance evaluation processes and the process for promotion from vice president to managing director. The company also agreed to conduct additional pay equity studies to investigate and address any gender pay gaps, as well as enhancing select communications to vice presidents regarding career development and promotion criteria. In a statement, Goldman Sachs Global Head of Human Capital Management, Jacqueline Arthur, said the company remains committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace for all its people.

The plaintiffs of the 13-year-old lawsuit expressed pride in the outcome of the case. Plaintiff Shanna Orlich said she was proud to support the case for almost thirteen years and believed the settlement would help the women she had in mind when she filed the case. Plaintiff Allison Gamba said her goal in the case was always to support strong women on Wall Street and was proud that the result achieved would advance gender equity. The settlement reflects Goldman Sachs’ long-standing record of promoting and advancing women while avoiding a potentially costly trial.

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47% of female entrepreneurs took on more family responsibility  

According to research by Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest small business insurance providers, two-thirds of female entrepreneurs feel the pandemic has worsened gender inequality and bias in business.  

The research found that nearly half (47%) of female entrepreneurs had to take on more family responsibilities during the pandemic, with one in ten (11%) saying they’ve put their business plans on hold.  

A third of women business owners experience sexism
Worryingly, the study also revealed that one in three (32%) female entrepreneurs have experienced sexism as a business owner, while one in five (19%) have experienced gender inequity and unequal access to opportunities.  

Over a third (34%) of female entrepreneurs who took part in the study claimed that juggling childcare and family responsibilities is one of the greatest challenges when it came to running their running a business.  

Baroness Karren Brady CBE, ambassador for Simply Business, commented: “The level of gender bias and inequality within business, particularly within the small business landscape, is astounding. Sexism and bias, whether conscious or unconscious, will erode confidence over time and lead to unequal opportunities. It’s vital we challenge sexism and bias, and equip female entrepreneurs with the tools, access and confidence to overcome these obstacles. We need to inspire women into business, not bring them down. 

“We need to harness the talents, ambitions and drive of women, at any business, big or small. I’m proud to partner with Simply Business to shine a light on sexism and bias in business – it’s an ongoing challenge we need to resolve. Supporting and mentoring one female entrepreneur and giving them the skills and tools they need to flourish, is a positive step forward in this journey.”  

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business also commented: “The pandemic has been tough on everyone, with few being hit harder than the nation’s small business owners – and that’s especially true for women who run their own business. 

“From trading restrictions to staff shortages, the challenges of running a small business over the last two years have been relentless. But for those also juggling parenting, childcare and home-schooling, those challenges have been intensified. Almost half of female entrepreneurs have had to take on more family responsibilities during the pandemic, leading to one in 10 putting their business on hold entirely.” 

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Only 42% of tech companies offer training and development

Female employees have gained ground in the workplace, however large skill gaps still exist when it comes to opportunities for professional development and career advancement. This, according to findings released by Skillsoft in its 2021 Women in Tech Report.

The report revealed a misalignment between the workplace benefits women in tech are seeking and what is currently being provided. For example, while 86% of respondents cited that opportunities for professional development and training as extremely or very important to them, a mere 42% said their employers currently offer this as a benefit. Additionally, when asked about the top challenges they have faced while pursuing a tech-related career, nearly a third of women surveyed (32%) pointed to a lack of training.

Potoula Chresomales, SVP, Product Management at Skillsoft commented: “Organisations around the globe are looking for ways to address their skills gaps, and in many cases, the answer lies within via their existing workforce. Women make up less than 40% of the global workforce, and for that number to increase, female employees must be empowered with continuous training, professional development, and career advancement, as well as equal pay. The time is now for organisations to tackle gender disparity head-on. By doing so, we can build more inclusive, equitable, and competitive businesses.”

Skillsoft’s 2021 Women in Tech Report highlights a few ways organisations can better empower female employees. Here they are:

Provide and encourage opportunities for certification

  • When asked how certifications have helped advance their careers, respondents reported gaining more responsibility (52%), earning higher salaries (34%), and receiving promotions (32%), among other benefits.
  • Despite business analysis and cybersecurity being identified as leading areas of interest, just 22 percent and 18 percent of respondents, respectively, hold corresponding certifications. 19 percent report holding no certifications at all.

Make an effort to reduce gender bias in STEM

  • 70 percent of women surveyed reported that men outnumber them in the workplace at ratios of two-to-one or greater.
  • The highest percentage of men in leadership roles have 15 to 20 years of experience versus 26 or more years for women.
  • To encourage more women to pursue tech-related careers, respondents said organisations should provide opportunities for professional development and training (55%), childcare (47%), career coaching, mentoring, and counselling (43%), and an equitable work culture (41%).

Alleviate the unique on-the-job challenges women face

  • More than a third of respondents list their biggest challenge as a lack of equity in pay. This is followed by balancing work and life (36%) and a lack of equity in opportunities (33%).

Ensure training is timely and topical

  • When selecting a training provider, women in tech seek scheduling capabilities (34%), relevant course availability (32%), and opportunities for hands-on practice (32%).
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Female board members earn almost half of male counterparts

Research published by New Street Consulting Group revealed that female board members at some of the UK’s largest companies are paid around 40% less than men in the same roles.

While equal pay has been in sharp focus over the last few years, data revealed that the gender pay gap is the widest in the c-suite of corporate Britain. On average, women earned £104,800 for non-executive roles at FTSE 100 companies last year, compared with an average of £170,400 paid to men. For executive board members, average pay was £2.5m for men and £1.5m for women.

In the broader market, women were paid 15.5% less than men, according to 2020 data from the Office for National Statistics.

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International commented: Despite discussions of the gender pay gap over recent years, and the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, it’s clear that FTSE 100 organisations are still not doing enough to tackle the issue – especially when there’s a 40% difference.  The fact is that unconscious bias remains, and organisations must tackle diversity and equality issues by supporting staff with training. HR must work more closely with executive teams to address equal and fair pay to stamp out social injustice.

“Pay equality responsibility does not just lie with HR; it requires support from everyone in the organisation in order to be addressed. So, more executives need to step up and become an ally for their female colleagues. If they are aware of injustice, then they need to speak up and support their female colleagues to get paid what they deserve.”

40% club

The Financial Conduct Authority recently suggested that UK companies should ensure that at least 40% of board level roles and a minimum of one senior executive role are held by women.

New Street Consulting Director Claire Carter, said “Focusing solely on the percentages of directors that are women is not enough when trying to approach equality.”

The government-backed review of board diversity, the Hampton-Alexander review found that, across the FTSE 350, women now held its 2020 target of an average of 33% board roles. But 130 businesses fell short of this target. Senior board roles remained male dominated, with just 14% of executive directorships held by women. Just 17 chief executives across the FTSE 350 are women.

Most businesses are doing their best to ensure they’re no longer a ‘boys club’ even if the reality of their demographics didn’t live up to aspirations, said Carter.

“The key to doing that will be ensuring that women have more executive responsibilities and are trained and prepared properly for taking on that responsibility,” she said. “It will be a case of their examining whether there are any barriers that are preventing females from reaching the very top at their organisation.”

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