Why Our Diversity Strategy is Failing

An article by Jamie Crain.

The intention of the chart in this article was quite simple: Can we identify how long will it take for any given company to reach gender parity?


As it happens, we can, yet the picture is not great.


In essence, to increase the percentage of women in a workforce you either add more women when your business’ headcount grows, or when people leave, you replace them with more women than men. This is easier said than done.

Take for example, an “average” business or team with 33% women currently, with moderate growth and average attrition. It will take 10 years to achieve parity. And that assumes that women will be selected for 55% of all available vacancies from today onwards. If, like many businesses, the target for women recruits is 50%, parity will in fact never happen, until nearly every single role in the business has turned over.

All this assumes of course, that businesses can get it right should they choose to. But it is very hard. It isn’t just about intent, nor even action. It is about the right actions.

Our experience tells us that using traditional recruitment methods will only get you part of the way. Without significant energy and thought behind how to attract, select, promote and retain women, achieving parity at all levels in an organisation is an enormous task.


The message is clear: If you want to change the dial, you will need to act dramatically. 


In the chart below, the time taken to parity is a function of the following:

  1. The current percentage of women of total workforce (33% – clear minority)
  2. The percentage of new recruits who are women (55% – a slight majority)
  3. Your net growth in headcount (3% – modest growth)
  4. Your overall attrition rate (12% – average for many organisations)
  5. Improvements to recruiting processes (0% – no change)



Is this surprising? For some, it may be. There is often good intent, but sometimes little thought is put towards how an organisation can achieve its goals.

If you would like further information about what you can do to help improve this picture, get in touch with us and we will be happy to work with you on serious yet pragmatic solutions.

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