How HR Can Create More Leadership Opportunities for Women

It’s no secret that women have been overlooked for generations in consideration for prominent leadership positions at work, and as such, the incredible impact so many women are capable of is vastly underestimated.

Not only does this mean that the majority of leadership opportunities tend to be offered to their male counterparts, but it inadvertently discourages women from climbing the career ladder being that 29% of women already feel their gender gets in the way of their advancement.

This isn’t to say that in some cases a man might be more qualified for the same leadership position a woman applies for, however, it can be said that men typically outnumber women in leadership because we unintentionally mistake confidence for competence.

So, with that being said, how can HR create more leadership opportunities specifically for women in the workplace? Below we go into detail.


Promote from Within

It’s not uncommon for companies to hire externally when it comes to recruiting senior talent, however, when HR and employers work to promote female employees from within their current talent pool, they’ll be met with a number of benefits, including:

  • Saving time and money by leveraging the female talent they already have.
  • Avoiding the need to train internal candidates on company policies, systems, or objectives.
  • Promoting employer loyalty and thus improving employee morale.
  • Reducing employee turnover and increasing retention by promoting an inclusive and gender diverse workplace culture.
  • Having a better understanding of their female candidates for senior positions, helping match those with the best skills to the most elite roles (i.e. board and other C-Suite positions).

To add, promoting females into leadership from within is especially helpful when it comes to simply increasing the representation of female leadership in the workplace. Not to mention, the talent pool of a company’s external candidates will likely be male-dominated due to women applying to 20% fewer jobs than men, according to a study on LinkedIn.

To this end, by focusing on this strategy, HR and employers show their employees that they’re supportive and encouraging of women progressing in the workplace.

leadership females

Develop Leadership Training Programmes

While women have already broken a number of glass ceilings within so many male-oriented industries, there’s still a long way to go in achieving equality among men and women in the workplace.

To this end, developing leadership training programmes specifically for women is a great way for HR to encourage the growth and development of their female employees. 

Mentoring schemes, for example, are one way to get the ball rolling in this department. This way, ambitious women looking to learn from like-minded females in already mid to senior positions have the opportunity to learn first hand what it takes to progress and be successful in the company.

Training and leadership programmes also give employees the chance to gain valuable and essential skills and feedback that will empower women to rise to the top of their industry game.

Oh, and some more good news for HR is that these initiatives are a great way to increase gender diversity and inclusion at every level of the business. If new, potential, and current female employees know that there are opportunities to progress at work, it makes a company that much more appealing to work for.

Another bonus is that, according to Morgan Stanley, companies that score better in gender diversity are proven to be more productive and even earn more profit.


Support Women's Initiatives & Events 

Speaking of initiatives, one of the best ways HR can create more leadership opportunities for women is by investing and supporting women’s initiatives and events at work.

For instance, advertising and hosting Women in Leadership Workshops and other networking opportunities will encourage aspiring female leaders to gain the confidence, skills, and expertise they need to grow in their industry and officially become women in leadership roles.

While research has found that the global share of women in high-level management roles is increasing, with 87% of global mid-market companies having at least one (yes, only one) woman in a C-suite management role, it will still be decades before organisations will achieve gender and pay equality in the workplace.

That’s why encouraging women to get involved and network at events that are catered to women at work is so important; it creates awareness, drives change, and motivates employees.

woman at work

The need for female leaders has never been more critical, so to create a culture of women leaders, it’s important for HR to take these three points into account while also working to incorporate these gender equality strategies for the long term.

With this in mind, HR can continue to create more leadership opportunities for women with ease and empower organisations to invest in their female talent.

Interested in stepping up your HR strategy? Learn the flexible way and enrol on a 100% online CIPD programme with us today to get started. 

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