A wooden balance beam with a pink wooden woman figurine on one side and a blue wooden man figurine on the other side, symbolising gender balance.
Image: © Andrey Popov/Stock.adobe.com

New toolkit for employers to help improve gender balance

23 Nov 2021

A new online toolkit aims to help companies improve their gender balance, which can attract talent and boost business performance.

Research has continually shown that diverse teams outperform non-diverse teams financially, while other reports have suggested that having women at C-suite level can make businesses more profitable.

However, there continues to be a significant gender gap in Irish workplaces, particularly when it comes to leadership levels.

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Enterprise Ireland is hoping to address this problem with a new online toolkit aimed at helping businesses develop gender-balanced leadership teams.

This, the State body said, can build strong leadership, attract talent and improve overall performance.

Launching the Level Project Action Planning Toolkit, Minister of State Robert Troy, TD, said the initiative would provide practical steps for companies to address their specific gender balance needs.

“Gender balance at senior level is critical to organisational success and I want to encourage all Irish companies to look at how this toolkit can help them to achieve greater diversity and greater business success.”

The toolkit will help companies assess their own position and put measures in place to help improve gender balance within their senior teams, giving each company an individual action plan.

Gender balance attracts talent

The gender gap within the STEM sector is widely talked about and while much can be done to help tackle this problem at an education level, it’s also vital to have a gender-balanced senior leadership team.

Aside from providing more role models for women who are coming up the ranks, better gender balance at a leadership level can also attract talent.

In 2020, a survey from job site Glassdoor found that 76pc of jobseekers said a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Additionally, a 2017 PwC report found that 61pc of women look at the diversity of a company’s leadership team when deciding where to work.

And for employers looking to hire early-stage employees,  a survey by the BBC found evidence that Gen Z is far more concerned about prejudice towards LGBTQ+ people, gender equality and racism than older generations.

Evelyn O’Toole, CEO of Irish contract laboratory business CLS, said her ideal gender balance is 50-50. “I think it’s really important to have that diversity in gender as some people work better with female leadership and others work better with male leadership,” she said.

“As CEO, I need to make sure that gender diversity is there by bringing the men along with us, to ensure we have that good mix in the company. If there’s skill, performance and ambition, then it’s about nurturing that and kicking the door open.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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