raise-the-game-and-grow-the-economy

Raise the Game and Grow the Economy

There isn’t a day that goes by now without the latest figures on female participation in the economy.

Just this week we’ve been hearing that women make up only 8% of engineers in the UK and at a school level 49% of state schools have no girls studying physics.

We have also had an announcement of following a Review by Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander that a new target has been set to get women occupying one in three of the most senior executive positions in major businesses in the UK by 2020.

This builds on the 33% target of women on FTSE boards by 2020 and the Scottish Government’s target of a 50:50 gender split on all public boards in Scotland in the same year.

So many targets. So many challenges.

It’s time for all businesses across the UK to rise to the challenge, to raise their game and seriously focus on growing our economy.

We need to really look behind the issues as to why engineering, IT and STEM careers are still not attracting the number of talented women out there today.

We also really need to take a long and hard look at the role of women themselves in the workplace. Why is it that women continue to be less likely than men to ask for promotions and pay rises?

All of these considerations and questions are complex and not one answer will solve the problem.

More and more now we also need men to step up to the plate and take their role seriously to promote gender equality.

The message needs to be loud and clear. It’s not just the right the thing to do but it’s the right business decision.

Actions speak louder than words.

Male and Female Role models are great for showing everyone what can be achieved and can support others to rise up and achieve their ambitions. We need to look at the benefits of mentors for women – particularly for those who wouldn’t normally push themselves forward for promotion or board opportunities.

And we need to continue to push the economic evidence and data that will convince business leaders that equality in the workplace is a business imperative.

At GenAnalytics we can form part of the solution for this complex problem. We have a track record, a passion and a commitment to working with businesses to help them understand where their diversity challenges begin, to understand their data and to provide them with a series of recommendations and a road map to improving equality.

What gets measured get done.

If we can all take responsibility and play our part, we can truly change the conversation and improve opportunities for women in all sectors of the economy.

Importantly we will also unleash economic growth otherwise unachievable if the status quo remains.

Jane Gotts
Director
GenAnalytics

GenAnalytics is a specialist marketing and insights consultancy focussed on diversity in the workplace.

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Scotland’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards 2016

#scotdiversity16

At Scotland’s inaugural national Diversity Awards 2016 *, we recognised those companies, organisations and individuals who are working to make a real difference to their communities, their businesses and to the Scottish economy. We also showcased what can be achieved when as a society we put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our actions and work based activities. The Awards clearly demonstrated that it can transform lives, communities and workplaces.

The high standard of entrants and the level of activity underway across Scotland in support of greater diversity, hugely impressed not only the judging panel but also the three hundred plus individuals and organisations attending on the evening. Choosing the winners was a difficult task and recognition needs to be given to not only those receiving the accolades on the evening, but to all the individuals and organisations who are committed to making our society, our communities, our workplaces and boardrooms across the nation better and fairer places.

We also hope that through the Awards, many more companies and organisations will be encouraged to support greater equality and diversity in their workplaces and to recognise the economic, employee and community benefits that it can achieve. Evidence clearly demonstrates that improving equality and diversity in an organisation can not only lead to improved financial performance, but also enhanced people retention and talent recruitment, greater employee engagement, increased customer satisfaction and improved productivity.

At GenAnalytics, we have a bold vision and we see the Diversity Awards as a key reference point for helping drive business change and in supporting the economic transformation of Scotland’s workplaces.

We all know that so much more can be done to promote greater equality and diversity across Scotland PLC. The national Diversity Awards provides a platform to share and celebrate achievement, but also more importantly to learn from each other and to improve what we do. By understanding where we are, good and bad, we can work together to create a shared economic vision and a common purpose in what greater equality and diversity can deliver for Scotland.

Building on the Diversity Awards, we intend to work together with our partners across business and civic Scotland to transform this energy and passion into knowledge and action that we can share at our “International Diversity and Inclusion” Conference to be held in Glasgow on March 2017. We do hope that you will join with us to contribute your knowledge and expertise on how we can make equality everyone’s business in Scotland.

Dr Lesley Sawers, Executive Chair, GenAnalytics Ltd

@ProfLesleyS

* Scotland’s Diversity Awards 2016 took place on 13 October 2016 #scotdiversity16

#equality #economy #leadership #diversity

Leading the way

Scotland Leading the Way in Diversity

The Scottish Diversity Awards 2016 #scotdiversity16

The judging panel for Scotland’s first ever National Diversity Awards met on Wednesday this week. With over 80 entries from a range of third sector, public organisations and large and small businesses, the level and quality of submissions was outstanding. Feedback from the independent judges was that every entry provided an excellent example of the great work that is going on across Scotland to achieve diversity and equality in the workplace and in our communities.

This is an occasion when I really do wish everyone could be a winner – when we see the commitment and focus of these individuals and organisations and when we consider the impact they are having on moving the diversity dial in Scotland. It’s good to know that so many people have a vision of equality at the heart of their organisation or business across Scotland.

On the 13th October, 2016 GenAnalytics and The Herald will announce the winners. And we will rightly applaud their achievements. If you also want to hear and find out more, join us on the 13th October to cheer the winners and all those doing such great work to promote equality and diversity. They deserve your support.

Dr Lesley Sawers
Executive Chair
GenAnalytics

#equality #diversity #leadership

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When First Becomes Meaningless

Last week I was asked to join a panel discussion on BBC Scotland Radio to answer the question have we finally achieved gender equality in the UK?

With a soon to be second female Prime Minister, a female First Minister in Scotland and Northern Ireland, we were asked to share our views on the second wave of Girl Power in the UK.

Of course it is excellent that women play such a prominent role in UK politics and such high profile individuals can only continue to champion the cause to encourage more women to enter the political field. However, in my view we will only be able to say we have achieved equality at all levels in business and society when first becomes meaningless.

How often do we refer to the First Female?

The biggest of all is the potential this year of the First Female President of the United States. We have the first female head of the IMF, the first female Chancellor of Germany, the first female First Minister of Scotland, the first female Chair of the US Federal Reserve Bank.

And we also have a constant stream of first female CEOs in companies and organisations throughout the world.

That’s a lot of First Females.

Such high profile appointments can only be good to show girls and women what can be achieved but when we scratch beneath the surface and the headlines we still have a significant journey ahead of us before we can truly say we have achieved equality.

The latest Women on Boards performance in the UK announced last week demonstrated a snail pace effort to improving the balance. Only 25% of recent FTSE 100 Board appointments have gone to women – the lowest rate since 2011. If we look at the FTSE 350 total only 7% of board directors are women.

In Scotland we continue to have a pay gap between men and women currently standing at 17.5% – this rises to 40% in some sectors.

Women across the UK are more likely to be in low-paid, part time roles as opposed to men.

Women are more likely to face challenges with lower pension provisions than men as they reach older age.

We all know that equality matters and that it is the right thing to do.

What can often be understated though is the significant economic benefits that gender equality would deliver.

McKinsey has estimated that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing gender equality.

If we do not harness the potential of over half of the world’s population the global economy will suffer.

Unleashing the potential of women to set up their own businesses in Scotland could lead to a 5% increase in Scottish GDP if women were to create their own businesses at the same rate as men. When Scotland’s current growth rate is hovering around 1.7% this makes for a tantalising opportunity to stimulate a significant boost to our economy.

With companies continuing to face a war on attracting, keeping the best talent and maintaining competitive advantage we know that diverse teams can demonstrate higher performance levels and importantly increase bottom line profitability.

So we have the attention grabbing headlines on women running the world and a message to the boys in the UK that the political norm has changed. The reality, once the headlines and the articles that follow have disappeared into yesterday’s news, is that we still have a long way to go.

Unless we change our approach now we will have to wait another 117 years before we achieve pay equality globally according to EY. I really don’t want to wait that long and what kind of message does this signal to the next generation of young women leaving school into work or going into further education.

So we need to shift the conversation from nice to do to have to do. That means mainstreaming gender equality as a business issue and creating frameworks and measurements to set baseline performance and track progress.

What gets measured gets done.

It is through a structured, analytical approach that we will see progress and this begins in the companies employing women across the UK.

At GenAnalytics we are confident that this approach will work and that we can track the talent pipeline, support organisations to close any gender pay gaps and importantly support women to achieve their ambitions – whatever their background.

This will require a massive effort across industry and with individuals stepping up to the plate to take responsibility.

Only then will we begin to reach a point in time when we no longer talk about firsts.

Jane Gotts
Director
GenAnalytics

Golf

Womenomics: Why Equality and Diversity Matters in Civic Society

Last year I completed an Independent Review, commissioned by the UK Government Scotland Office, which examined the “Role and Contribution of Women to the Scottish Economy”. The subtitle of the Review was ”Womenomics”, a term coined in Japan to help a very male dominated culture and society recognise the economic contribution that greater participation by women in civic society and business could achieve.

Given the recent decision by Muirfield Golf Club members to continue to exclude 52% of the population from its membership, sadly it seems that within Scotland we also still have work to do to convince a minority of people of the value and economic benefit that a more diverse and equal society can deliver.

This decision, as it stands, will mean that the British Open, one of the most iconic and prestigious golf tournaments in the world, will not return to a venue just twenty-one miles outside Edinburgh, our Capital City. The loss of this event to the Scottish economy is estimated to be in the region of £100m, the impact on our international reputation and national brand as a welcoming and caring nation is immeasurable.

Major sporting events are a key economic driver for Scotland and our reputation on the world stage has been hard earned through significant public and private sector investment in infrastructure, facilities, marketing and promotion. The 2015 Open Championship in St Andrews delivered £140 million of economic benefit to Scotland – the largest amount ever achieved by a golf event in the United Kingdom or Ireland, according to an independent economic impact assessment, commissioned by golf’s governing body the R&A.

In Scotland, we host the Open more times than any other part of the UK. It brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to this country and generates significant business for hotels, restaurants, local businesses and the wider Scottish economy. But most importantly, it supports valuable and much needed jobs in tourism, hospitality and retail. All sectors dominated by female workers. This decision by a small group of private club members potentially has ramifications for many women beyond the Clubhouse or course. It can be reversed and like many, I hope that it is. If not on social and moral grounds, then surely in terms of its economic and business impact.

In July this year, the Ayrshire town of Troon will host the 145th Open. The Royal Troon Golf Club is also currently consulting its members on whether to end its “men-only” membership policy. Its Captain has already stated “it is important that the club, much like the wider game, reflects the modern society in which we exist”

Let’s all hope Royal Troon members better understand the concept of “Womenomics” and why equalities and diversity matters in our civic society.

Dr Lesley Sawers

Executive Chair

GenAnalytics

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Women and Ageism: Economic Illusion or Fact

You may have never heard of the term “Frequency Illusion” but now that I’ve mentioned it chances are that you will hear it again some time very soon. “Frequency Illusion” is the phenomenon where you hear a piece of news or information or see something and very soon afterwards encounter the same object or information again, often repeatedly.

Since turning 50 some years ago and heading all too fast towards the next significant birthday, I seem to be confronted on an almost daily basis with facts and stories about ageing women. It’s everywhere – on the news, in magazines, on the web at home and at work. I don’t think it’s an illusion, I do believe there has been an increase in the frequency and volume of information on the issues facing women in the third age that reflects the increasing focus of society, the media, politicians and from women ourselves on ageing and its impact on our careers, family life and future work and earning prospects.

Since 2000, the proportion of people aged 50-64 in work has grown from 61% to 66% in 2014.The employment rate for people over 65 has similarly risen from 8% to over 14%. This older working group however contains a lot of disparity linked to age, occupation and education and there are significant challenges experienced by many women in this age group. Within the UK, three in five female employees (aged 50+) work in three sectors characterised by low paid jobs; education, health and retail. All sectors that are predicted to shrink in employment numbers. In a recent Radio 5 survey into ageism, one in five adults said they had experience ageism, 32% of them in the workplace. Worryingly in this survey, Scotland had the second highest incidence of ageism in the workplace, just behind Wales.

And whilst employment rates amongst the 50+ age group are rising, across the UK there are over 3 million unemployed people aged 50-64 who are actively seeking work. Approximately 1 million of these people have been made “involuntary workless” or as Business in the Community describes it “pushed out of their jobs” for reasons of redundancy, ill health or early retirement. What this essentially means, is that there are millions of people over 50 who would like to work but can’t find a job. Within my own circle of 50+ friends and colleagues, this seems a particularly serious issue for many women, who may also have experienced divorce or single parenthood and now find themselves the sole household earner and faced with very real challenges in re-entering or remaining in work.

A number of experts are also highlighting the potential challenge facing many women in this older age group in seeking work, as their jobs and skills do not match those sectors predicted to grow. Older women on average have lower levels of formal qualifications and are less likely to engage in training, either through not working in sectors that have invested heavily in workforce development or having missed earlier career development opportunities due to a whole host of reasons linked to caring responsibilities or extended periods not in paid employment. A recent study across the OECD highlighted the fact that women do more unpaid work than men, many choosing to combine work with family responsibilities, something we all know, but interestingly what this study also demonstrated was this comes with a cost to many women’s long term career and earning prospects. The effect of the boomerang generation is also adversely impacting many women, with over three million older women within the UK having adult children still living at home.

In Scotland, the proportion of older women (50+) has been rising steadily since 2004, from 24% to 28% in 2011. Many of these older women are likely to earn less than older men, on average 20% less, and to have more responsibility for caring for elderly relatives or grandchildren. This trend is likely to continue as more and more of us baby-boomers and Generation Jones’s (that’s anyone born up to the mid 1960’s) become a larger proportion of the ageing workforce.

The recent increase in retirement age has also impacted many working women, the STUC have identified that many women in the 50-64 age group are less likely to be eligible for full state pensions or to have access to an occupational pension, often having either restricted access to schemes or breaks in contributions due to childcare. Figures show that women have on average £32k in defined pension schemes as opposed to £62k+ for men. Analysis of single women households suggests that this age group may also be negatively impacted by a changing welfare system that has a focus on family units as opposed to individuals.

So for many women in Scotland ageing is not an economic illusion.

It would be hard reading this data and statistics, not to feel a little depressed at the potentially very bleak future for many women. But there is a positive side. With this increase in focus on ageing in society and in the workplace, there has also been a growing recognition of the need to specifically look at third age work requirements, particularly for women.

A report last year by the UK Government into older people, recognised the need for a national focus on retaining, retraining and recruiting workers over 50 and it identified a whole package of policy measures to support flexible working, training needs and to protect earnings.

There are also a growing number of women like myself, now choosing self-employment as a career option, 10% of women in Scotland aged 50-64 are now self-employed. Many cite greater flexibility and overcoming challenges of age discrimination as their reasons for entrepreneurship. The majority of new businesses in the UK are created by people in their 40s and 50s, the evidence shows that these “olderpreneurs” have a 70% chance of survival compared to 28% for younger people. Little research exists into the female “olderpreneur” and the contribution this group could make to the economy, but we know that in Scotland if woman started businesses at the same rate as men, this would add an additional 5% to GDP or the equivalent of an extra £7.6 billion to the national economy. So the opportunity for policy makers and government to develop a package of targeted support measures and incentives to support female “oldpreneurs” is there.

Similarly, both the Scottish Commission into Older Women and Business in the Community have also identified a range of practical measures that would support more women to remain in meaningful and rewarding work or to develop new third age careers, these include a greater emphasis on training, agile or flexible working, carer support and pay gap transparency.

I hope in the future we will see greater and faster progress on a range of government and business measures specifically focused at addressing gender ageism at work and in society. As someone very wise once said, “all problems are an illusion of the mind”, ageing and gender is definitely one “frequency illusion” that we can solve.

Dr Lesley Sawers

Executive Chair

GenAnalytics

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Diversity Statistics Show Progress Still Needs to be Made

Technology impacts our lives every day and increasingly our lives are shaped and influenced by data. It is no longer unusual and indeed we are now accustomed to our shopping habits being analysed by major retailers who use sophisticated data analytics to mould and promote tantalising offers to keep us loyal to one particular retail operator.

We have apps on our mobiles that can record our preferences for films, music, tv content and recommend accordingly. The smart use of technology will only continue to grow and continue to disrupt traditional models of work, retail and our social activity.

However, despite monumental leaps in technology and constant challenging of the status quo including Uber, Air BNB, and Tesla which is leading to the democratisation and people driven focus of previously protected industries I believe we have yet to see technology and data being used effectively to drive diversity in the workforce.

In Scotland and the UK the statistics on diversity in the workforce continue to make depressing headlines.

The employment rate in Scotland for people with a disability is 41% compared to an overall employment rate of 72.6%.

There is an average pay gap in Scotland between men and women of 17.5% – rising in some sectors to over 40%.

Research by the Equality Network in Scotland suggests that over a quarter of LGBT individuals in the workplace have experienced discrimination or harassment because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.

Of Scottish-based companies in the FTSE 100 – women only account for 25% of board members.

We would all agree that these are serious issues that businesses need to address not just morally but unquestionably because diverse businesses perform better than those who are not.

Research by Forbes undertaken in 321 large global enterprises with over $500m in annual revenue found that 85% of these enterprises recognised that diversity was crucial to fostering innovation in their workforce.

Research by McKinsey has found that companies who are in the top 25% for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. In addition their research found that companies with greater gender diversity on their senior executive team led to better financial returns than competitors.

Diverse companies are better at attracting and retaining talent, and they have a more engaged, empowered and positive workforce and workplace. They are also able to promote a brand or reputation that is valued by shareholders, stakeholders, customers and employees.

Diverse businesses become an employer of choice.

Faced with the challenges and knowing the benefits how can we work better to enable technology to support diversity?

Our ability to utilise technology and data must be harnessed if we want to see a shift in some of the statistics above and to create an environment where anyone can achieve their potential and ambitions at work regardless of ethnicity, gender or any disability. But what are some of the very real and tangible challenges and how could technology and data provide solutions?
For many women the pay gap starts to take effect when they choose to start a family and take leave from their work. With remote-working technology now in the mainstream and affordable for many businesses the adoption of this technology could mean that women could begin to get back into work sooner and become engaged in specific roles and projects whilst still on leave if that was something they wanted to do.

One of the dangers in all of this is that we look for solutions to solve the problems that women face and that is a mistake. We need to look at technology to support both men and women in the workplace. When we talk about leave we need to continue to shift the language to shared parental leave and provide men with the same technology support as women.

It is the same when we look at the data available to companies to better understand their diversity challenges. Too often companies consider Diversity an HR issue and not a mainstream business performance issue.

To understand where companies are losing staff or not seeing enough women for example in leadership roles, businesses need to use the data available to consider male / female employment application splits, what is the language being used to outline job applications or promotion opportunities, do women apply for promotion at the same rate as men, are women leaving the workforce at a greater rate than men, what is the percentage of women in senior leadership roles for example? All of these questions can be similarly applied to other protected characteristics.

By analysing these questions and understanding their current performance companies can then set targets to seek to improve their diversity position.

We know that if it gets measured it gets reported and businesses will be much clearer on where there challenges lie and how to begin to make a positive impact to redress any imbalances that they identify.

We still have a long way to go before we truly see equality in our companies and where we recognise and reward individuals based on their talent and potential. However I am truly optimistic that we are heading in the right direction.

Never before has this been such a key issue in government, in companies and in board rooms across Scotland and the UK.

For the companies who seize the diversity challenge as an opportunity, who embrace the use of modern technology to enable their staff, who understand the data available to them and put in place a framework and road map to achieve diversity the prize is great. Not only will they see their business performance improve but they will also demonstrate a commitment to their staff internally and externally they will show that they offer a truly inclusive workforce where everyone matters, everyone can achieve their potential and everyone is valued.

That is a prize worth aiming for.