Recruiting Women: The Importance, The Struggles, and The Solutions

Here at Amberjack, we want to help build a better working world and provide candidates for the workforces of the future – but this doesn’t come without being committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

This is why we’re passionate about helping organisations recruit early talent with DE&I in mind, and why for International Women’s Day 2022, we’re diving headfirst into the process of hiring women and increasing the representation of women within your workforce. 

The Importance of Encouraging Women into Workforces 

For International Women’s Day, we spoke to women across Amberjack about their roles in working towards gender diversity in recruitment practices, and why it is important. 

Firstly, we spoke to Angela, our Head of Service Excellence, about why it is crucial for organisations to work towards this cause and what it means to her. 

Angela, Head of Service Excellence 

Why is it important for organisations to strive towards gender diversity, and greater representation of women within their ranks? 

Having both males and females in teams at work means that we benefit from the different points of view and approaches that come from different life experiences. Our clients and candidates come from all walks of life. The more the make-up of our organisation reflects our clients and candidates the more likely it is that we will communicate effectively with them. 


An inclusive workplace is also a powerful recruiting tool both for ourselves at Amberjack and also within our early careers market place. Female millennials look for employers with a strong record on diversity, saying it’s important to them. 

Is it important to you, to be a part of an organisation directly encouraging gender diversity across industry workforces? 

Having once worked within an organisation which was heavily male dominant, it is incredibly refreshing to now be part of an equally balanced gender workforce where everyone’s view is heard and considered. Here at Amberjack, we are all genuinely aligned with our company values and to delivering the same strategic goals. Ultimately, this leads to increased bottom line profit. 


The Struggles facing Organisations Trying to Improve Gender Diversity 

Next, we spoke to Carlin, Client Solutions Consultant for Amberjack, about why organisations are coming to us to help them improve their gender diversity and representation of women in their workforce. Understanding the struggles of an organisation is crucial to helping improve these issues as much as possible. 

Carlin, Client Solutions Consultant 

When organisations come to us looking to improve their gender diversity, what problems are they experiencing?  

Typically, there are a few main reasons why an organisation might reach out to us to help them improve.  


1) Lack of pipeline. For roles that have traditionally been seen as ‘male’ roles, there is a lower proportion of females with the skills/interest. It’s no surprise that where we see the biggest shortage is mainly STEM-related, but also in areas such as Policing and Finance/Investment. 


2) The presence of adverse impact during the selection process. Research shows that females tend to perform less well in a timed test. So often they are sifted out of a process where they may have performed better at the later stages. 


3) Representation at senior level. It’s becoming more important for candidates to be able to see people like them in the business, and so often times there is quite a lot of work to be done in parallel when looking at the selection process for promotion and improving representation at all levels. 

What is the effect of a lack of gender diversity that you’re seeing from prospective clients? 

The McKinsey report is well known for its research and findings into the commercial benefits of having a diverse workforce, but it can also have an effect on those coming in to the business. As a female, it’s more appealing to me to work for a company that I can see other successful women in. It is an indication of healthy company culture. So, there is a good chance that your top female candidates will overlook you if they don’t see a good balance. 

Are you seeing an increase in the number of prospective clients that are concerned about gender diversity? Why do you think this is? 

Gender diversity has long been a concern for the clients we work with. It’s natural that by the very nature of what we do in the diversity space, the majority of organisations reaching out to us have established a need to either improve, or take steps to maintain, their gender diversity. For most of our clients, it has almost stopped being a focus, and has just become a standard practice that whatever process is in place, it should be considered with a diversity-first approach. It’s extremely rare that we’ll speak to an organisation where getting a fair gender split is not a basic requirement, which is certainly a long way from where we have been in times past. 

The Solutions to Help Organisations Looking to Increase Women in their Workforces 

Addressing gender imbalances to create future-fit workforces can be achieved by focusing on multiple areas for improvement. From the beginning of the process with attraction, to assessment, onboarding, and beyond; looking at each stage of your recruitment is key. 

From Attraction, Maddie, Brand Marketing Executive, and Susannah, Media Consultant, discuss the ways in which Amberjack works with clients to encourage more applications from women. While Diane, Senior Assessment Consultant from the Assessment team, dives deeper into adverse impact. 

Maddie, Brand Marketing Executive, and Susannah, Media Consultant 

How do we work with clients to attract women into their application processes? 

Understanding the needs and ambitions of the client at the planning stage of an Attraction campaign is paramount, most of our clients have a desire to see better gender balance in their Early Careers recruitment. 

  • We undertake a research process when recommending Universities for collaboration which includes scoring student gender breakdown as a key data point in a client University matrix. 
  • We use images to represent target audiences – with particular focus on females and ethnic diversity. Students are typically more responsive to imagery that has a ‘people like me’ reflection.  We also endeavour to use client imagery from their own workforce to show insights into females working in role. 
  • We utilise a couple of tools to ensure our content on job adverts, employer profiles, website and social content uses female friendly language or is ‘gender de-coded’.  Tools like textio (when you’re building a culture of belonging, every word counts) which gives us ideas for language insights that can help females reflect positively. For example, using phrases like ‘be a part of’, ‘collaborative working’ and ‘take on’ resonate more with females over phrases such as ‘teamwork’, ‘dealing with’ and ‘tackle’ which typically resonate better with males. 
  • We use direct targeting/weighted targeting behind digital activity like social media posts and email campaigns.
  • We highlight real-life stories and insights (images, blogs, posts and video) from females working in the role i.e. females in Engineering roles at IMI or Female Field Engineer Apprentices at Virgin Media. 

What kind of things need to be considered when looking to attract women in their early careers? 

As well as all of the above, we do strongly recommend that the representation of a brand in the market is genuine and reflective of the company culture.  It is quite hard to promote female inclusivity and career progression if a client that has an entirely male, middle-aged, white board and no females in senior positions. If they’re not where they want/need to be then talking about the journey they’re taking to get there, and talk about any initiatives or social groups etc… that support these ambitions. 

Diane, Senior Assessment Consultant 

How do we work towards gender diversity and equality within our assessments?  

Gender diversity is just one factor that we can account for when creating assessments that are more inclusive.  


The key thing is to not control for adverse impact once an assessment has been created (i.e. through benchmarks set) but rather accounting for it during the design. For example, when completing Job Analysis calls at the start of a project, you would want to speak to a diverse range of individuals so that you can hear the diversity of thought, which you can then feed into your design. Additionally, when validating items for SJTs for example, you can review individual items for adverse impact and only add items to your final test that meet your requirements (e.g. in line with social science guidelines 4/5ths rule).  

Why do we need to consider gender diversity, adverse impact, and other factors when looking at assessments?  

Whilst effective assessment design can ensure that you are selecting the person with the right qualities for the role, what we also need to consider is the fairness of the assessments themselves, so that diverse talent isn’t lost in the pipeline. After all, a diverse workforce is an asset, bringing growth and creativity to a business. 

A Better Working World 

Amberjack’s work to help organisations take steps towards diversity and equality is crucial to helping ensure the workforce of the future are fit for purpose and as effective as possible. 

Reviewing your entire recruitment process from beginning to end, with organisations like Amberjack, is key to developing a more effective and efficient hiring process which attracts and retains the candidates you are looking for. 

This is why we offer services and technology to cover the whole Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) spectrum, from a whole system redo to specific lifecycle-focused solutions, Amberjack is committed to helping you achieve your diversity targets. 

Reach out to our team today, to find out more about how Amberjack can help you, via the contact form on our website, or further explore our resources for more information. 

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