International Women’s Day – Breaking the Bias by Brett Kullman, CEO of iMaven and Synergy Placements

Written by iMaven

iMaven provides a dynamic platform enabled by machine learning and matching algorithms to provide employers access to vetted, specialised recruiters to help them fill crucial jobs in an increasingly poor candidate market.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘breaking the bias’ and it’s about working to eliminate gender-based discrimination and replace it with a culture that is diverse, equitable and inclusive.

Most companies have a Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) statement that addresses in some form, gender bias. Whether or not these statements are in place to tick a box, or they form a cornerstone of a strong, positive culture differs from one employer to the next. No matter what the policy is or how well written the DEI and Gender Bias statements are, it all comes down to a hiring manager’s view of the applicable candidate market for a role they are trying to fill.

We are seeing more and more of our blue-collar employers asking us to provide women candidates for roles that have traditionally been filled by men. These roles tend to pay better, have more entitlements and support, and are better organised than roles that are seen as traditional women’s roles. It’s way past time we give women equitable access to these jobs.

Not only is eliminating gender bias the ethical thing to do, it’s also good business. With over half the adult population being women, as an employer, why would I limit my potential employee and contractor base to just men? It’s like the local coffee shop saying they will only sell coffee to every second person. Women bring competencies to blue-collar roles that are often more difficult to find in their male contemporaries, such as attention to detail, and reliable work ethic. Women also tend to take fewer risk than men. Studies show that male risk-taking often increases under stress, while female risk-taking tends to decrease under stress. This, more sensible and measured approach to risk taking at work can significantly reduce workplace injuries and the associated costs and lost productivity – all welcome benefits for any employer.

And remember, one of the major benefits to a Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity policy that is whole-heartedly supported by the business is the introduction of new perspectives to how we work, support each other, interact and solve problems.

I’m not blind to the challenges faced by women in the workplace, especially in blue-collar industries. I have nothing but admiration for anyone that takes the bold, and often lonely journey to eliminate any form of bias, including gender bias. The challenges that all women face to varying degrees is shameful and all of us need to work to change this. But all the good work that has gone before us hasn’t been lost. Each week I hear from more and more employers actively seeking to promote DEI and eliminate Gender Bias. If you’re a business leader who truly cares about your business and the people around you, then working to eliminate Gender Bias is one of your top priorities.

On this International Women’s Day, one that is overshadowed by catastrophic natural and man-made disasters, a day where human suffering is the lead story, I encourage you to take the time to appreciate the women in your professional life. I know I’m doubly fortunate – my business partner is also my life partner.