Last Monday (28 January) marked the launch of the Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group’s (APPG) latest report, How to Recruit Women for the 21st Century. The Women and Work APPG is a cross-party group that looks at the role of women in the workforce. The REC has spent the past year working with the group to examine how the recruitment process can be improved to better support women and reduce unconscious bias. Last November we published a report Increasing Opportunity, Supporting Growth, looking at the role of good recruitment in fostering gender diversity.
Great steps have been taken by government and business in increasing pay transparency and removing unconscious bias in the recruitment process but there is still more to do. According to research from Pipeline, progress on gender diversity at the top of the U.K’s largest listed companies has stalled for the past two years and some groups still face unconscious bias in the recruitment process.
“We have got to fundamentally change our policies, which in 2019 are like something out of the 1950s”, said Co-Chair of the APPG and Labour MP Jess Phillips at the launch event in the Houses of Parliament. “It is still not acceptable that women are expected to be the main parent, it is still not acceptable that women are valued so much less in the workplace, it is still not acceptable that we fail to recognise the disadvantages of being a poor woman, of being a black woman, of being a disabled woman, and what that means in the workplace”.
Included in the group’s report is the REC’s recommendation to broaden the apprenticeship levy to be used as a training and skills levy. Making the levy more flexible will allow many thousands more temporary workers to benefit from training. To improve fairness in recruiting and selecting candidates allowing women more opportunities in the jobs market, the APPG also recommended the importance of using recruitment agencies affiliated with trade associations like the REC.
The REC is proud to support the advancement of gender diversity in the workplace. Increasing the representation of women in the workplace is not just a questions of ethics, diverse teams are proven to perform better than less diverse teams.
The REC will be hosting a special edition of our Inclusivity Forum on International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March) with Baroness Ruby Mc-Gregor Smith, author of the McGregor Smith Review into Race in the Workplace and former CEO of Mitie Group. Free tickets for members can be booked here.