865,000 women have dropped out of the workforce in September of 2020 alone, compared to 216,000 men according to new data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively affected employment for many people across the globe, these figures are devastating both for women and the economy.
With many disparities in the workforce already commonplace for women, such as the gender pay gap, this is one more obstacle that can make things difficult for them to succeed in their careers.
One woman who is passionate about changing these dynamics is Samantha Ettus. She founded Park Place Payments, a female-owned payments and credit card processing company working to change the lives of those seeking opportunities to renter the workforce by hiring women and helping women become more financially independent. Having devoted her career to advocating and supporting women in the pursuit of their dreams, here Samantha shares her tips on how fintechs can better support women in their careers.
The corporate world was created for men with stay at home wives, and it continues to be structured to serve that group. As the burden of childcare and eldercare falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women during the pandemic, circumstances are forcing them out of the workforce in droves. From an economic, societal, and health perspective, we cannot afford to lose these women. The ground we have gained in diversifying our companies is threatened to be completely lost. Here’s how to stop that from happening.
1. Offer Real Flexibility
I recently counselled a group of women who are working full time while managing their kids’ at homeschooling, spouses with their own full-time jobs and other hurdles. Those with the hardest time keeping it together were the ones with inflexible managers. One woman’s boss repeatedly suggested that she could use “all the time she recently gained now that she didn’t have a daily commute.” He had failed to recognise all of the new obligations that had been added to her daily life. When we change the metric of success from hours spent to results delivered, the company wins and its employees win too.
2. Be Intentional About Culture
Think about the core values of your company and make sure to hire and manage with them in mind. If you are seeking to recruit and retain female employees, you need to take a hard look at your existing culture and whether it is a comfortable environment for all of your employees rather than just some. When a parent sees a pool table at the office, they should head for the hills. Billiards aren’t scary, but billiards at the office can be. They represent a play at work, work at work culture that isolates anyone over 30 who has a partner, kids or pets to return home to. Make it possible to thrive at work without the obligation or pressure to play at work. Be intentional about the kind of culture you are creating by making sure that your policies and hiring practices mirror the culture you want to create.
3. Change the Criteria
Like most industries, Fintech has traditionally been white and male, and it has not been fast to change. What makes the biggest shift in the composition of your company is how you recruit. If you know that your industry is historically white and male, then the definition of insanity would be to post a position requiring 10 years of Fintech experience and to expect your applicant pool to look anything other than white and male. This means that if you are truly committed to your company changing, you will need to change the hiring criteria and the places you recruit. Asking Bob, Pete and Steve who they know and using them to recruit your next hire is not going to lead to candidates like Jessica, Trevera and Laurel. Change the job description and how you get the word out. Sites like LinkedIn and Indeed have democratised the recruiting process and you can capitalise on this not just by using them to source candidates but by also updating your description to find people that might not have fit your prior criteria.
4. Post Pandemic
The world has changed more since March, 2020 than it has changed in years, One of the silver linings is that companies have had to make do with a remote workforce. Many have seen that employees can be just as productive from home as they are in the office. While a completely remote culture might not be right for you long term, the success of the last few months should show you that breaking the mold of the “how it has always been done” culture is essential to recruit and retain talent in this era.