MALE EMPLOYERS TWICE AS LIKELY TO SUPPORT A PUBLIC HOLIDAY FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY - BUT REAL CHANGE, NOT TOKENISM, IS NEEDED
Posted on 12th March 2020
One in four male employers (25%) think International Women's Day (IWD) should be a public holiday, compared to just one in eight (13%) women employers, according to a survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). But IWD, observed on 8 March, is best marked by employers taking action to remedy discrimination in the workplace rather than adopt token gestures which make employers feel good about themselves for a day but don't have the impact that women employees deserve or want for the longer term, argues the REC.
It seems most of the employers surveyed agree with the REC on the need for real action. One in six (17%) employers think IWD should be a public holiday, but the majority (72%) are against the idea. Just 5% think that IWD should be a public holiday for women only.
The idea is a bit more popular in London, with 26% of employers saying IWD should be a public holiday for all and 9% saying it should be a public holiday for women only.
There is much need to improve equality for women in the workplace but the REC agrees with most of those surveyed who don't think a day off is the answer. Instead it wants employers to use IWD as an opportunity to create plans to improve recruitment processes which will increase the diversity of the workplace and create equal opportunity.
Sophie Wingfield, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the REC, said:
"Women deserve action not token gestures. International Women's Day should be celebrated, but a day off isn't going to eradicate the gender pay gap or other forms of discrimination that still hold women back. Employers should use IWD to take action to increase diversity and equality in the workplace. Making sure recruitment processes are free from bias is a good place to start. We recommend deleting gendered language from job ads and offering flexible working from the outset are simple steps to attracting more women applicants. We want an end to discriminatory work practices and a day off would do little to achieve this.
"Closing the gender pay gap would add £150 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025. Increasing diversity in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense. Despite this, often unwittingly, organisations are reducing the likelihood of women getting jobs because of outdated recruitment processes. Recruiters are well placed to help employers adopt best practice recruitment. The facts speak for themselves - more diverse executive teams have been shown to out-perform the competition by as much as 21% in terms of earnings."*
*Research by McKinsey & Company found that closing the gender pay gap would add £150 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025. They also showed that more diverse executive teams out-perform the competition by as much as 21% in terms of earnings before interest.
For more information on the REC visit www.rec.uk.com.