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Jo Wimble-Groves on encouraging female talent in the workplace


here is no doubt that it is an exciting time for women in business. T e world is chang-

ing and female politicians are in pole position. However, politics aside, what can women learn from watching these courageous female infl uencers? How can they help us overcome our own confi dence issues in the workplace? Women make up almost half the

UK’s workforce, yet are paid 19.2 per cent less than their male counterparts.1 Many want to take an opportunity to progress or make a change, but don’t know how to go about it.

Current landscape

Gender diversity is now very much on the agenda and 72 major fi nancial services fi rms have recently signed up to the new government charter designed to improve gender diversity in senior positions within the sector. T is is just one part of the government’s broader ambition to tackle gender inequality in the workplace, but what about the wider business community? How can we learn from commitments like this? Whether an organisation is small or large, businesses need to allow more women to fulfi l their potential. However, it is not just about the organisation itself. Now is the time for women to learn how to build their confi dence in order to negotiate their own opportunities in the workplace, whether that is a training course or a pay increase. In a recent survey, KPMG polled

3,000 professional working women between the ages of 18 and 64.2

Six out

of 10 said they aspired to be a manager or leader within an organisation but they agreed that, as women, they are cautious in taking steps forward. Yet, the longer women remain cautious, the longer it takes for more women to reach board level. Women fi ll roughly 16 per cent of director seats as they become available, and MSCI reports that it will take until 2027 for women to hold 30 per cent of global board seats. If we want to reduce this

timeline, we need to give women the guidance and support they need now. T e need to support women and build self-confi dence has also been outlined in KPMG’s Women’s Leader- ship study, which revealed that 67 per cent of the women surveyed said they need more support building confi dence to progress further in their company. In a bid to understand why more

women weren’t in top management positions, Hewlett Packard conducted an internal survey that revealed that men apply for a job when they meet 60 per cent of the qualifi cations, whereas women apply only when they meet 100 per cent of the qualifi cations.3

Building your self- confi dence is one of the most important things you can do in a lifetime

T is comes down to two key ingre-

dients: courage and confi dence. Men often tend to take more risks, whereas women are perhaps more cautious. It is often the quiet voice inside that tells us that we are not good enough or not capable and it is that voice that needs to be silenced. Women need to develop the courage to take a chance on that promotion or that opportunity without being afraid of failure. So, to start making that change,

here are some practical steps you can take to build your confi dence and develop your negotiation skills. And – for managers – some pointers to help you encourage and support your people on that journey.

Build your con�idence

Confi dence – that elusive thing that we all want more of and we should never underestimate. In fact, proactively building your self-confi dence is one of the most important things you can do in a lifetime. Courage and confi dence will become the main ingredients for success in achieving new goals. Sometimes, the perception can be that women need to act more like

 | September 2016 | 25


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