According to Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), in the first quarter of 2020, women made up the smaller portion of the labour market. The disparity becomes worryingly large in managerial roles where their male counterparts are said to occupy close to 70 percent of these positions.
Women also bear the brunt of the unemployment crisis; although they make up just over half of the population.
“For companies to be able to achieve gender equality within their organisations they need to create a balance for their internal management. They can do this by promoting employee wellness and culture diversity programmes on a regular basis, and they can let the leadership communicate these values too,” advises Jake Willis, CEO of Lulaway.
Jake adds that businesses can work towards ensuring gender equality in the workspace by being transparent in their hiring practices to encourage hiring women and creating supportive structures for mothers.
Considering these workplace biases, where women’s capabilities are questioned on the basis of their gender and not being afforded equal opportunities as their male counterparts, young women entering the job market may need five focused strategies that may help land their dream jobs:
1. Network like your life depends on it
Social capital is critical if you want to improve your chances of finding a job. That means talking, talking and talking some more - tell your friends and peers, your shop owners and family members that you are looking for work. Be specific - tell them what experience you have and what you can do.
2. Be open
The world is changing. You don't need to think “I am not applying for those roles”. If you have the skills and qualifications - go for it. Many companies are looking to diversify their workforce. Jake says, “times are changing; to promote this, women can and should also apply for jobs that are in demand such as being delivery persons, thus not limiting themselves and their chances of getting employment.”
3. Create a professional image
If you want to be taken seriously in the workplace, dress professionally.
4. Project confidence
Being a team player means volunteering to do tasks that are not part of your job. However, being pushed around is not acceptable, especially if you are working in an environment led mostly by men. You are not the coffee girl. Do not tolerate discriminatory language or let people talk down to you.
5. Seek out mentors
While there are still not nearly enough women in leadership roles, there are definitely more than there used to be. Many women are willing to help others around them learn and avoid the mistakes they have made, so don't be afraid to ask. Mentors are a great source of inspiration, encouragement, and of course, job leads. Women may especially find that other women in their line of work are eager to share their secrets to success or help a fellow woman achieve their career goals. Don't be shy - seek out a role model and ask for their mentorship.
Credit: The Dynasty Comms
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