OTHER VOICES: Losing female employees costly
CHICAGO (April 14, 2016) — One woman wrote: “I was promoted to a higher level to reflect the new responsibilities I had taken on. Part of my new role allowed me to see my male direct report's salary.
“I was shocked to see it was significantly higher than mine, despite the fact that I had a higher position.”
Another woman wrote: “My career path is unclear.” And this from another: “Management has almost eliminated my leadership opportunity since I had my child.”
These comments come from a survey of more than 1,000 working women that Crain Communications Inc.'s Crain's Chicago Business (CCB) magazine conducted for its recently published “Best Places to Work” special report, in partnership with the Chicago Network, a leading women's professional organization.
Perhaps the most alarming finding in the questionnaire is this: Two of five women left their jobs in the past five years because they didn't see career growth or advancement opportunities at their current workplace.
In a column posted on tirebusiness.com April 13, Tire Business contributor Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com Inc., posed the question, What's really happening with women in the tire and automotive industries? Her point: Businesses should make an effort to hire more women for the unique contributions they can bring to the workplace. Do you have an opinion on that, or this CCB editorial? Send your comments, or a letter to the editor, to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, official business name, the city and state in which it's located, and an email address and daytime phone number at which you can be contacted for verification purposes.
That's a terrible churn rate and, as anyone who runs a business knows, an expensive one. All the time and money spent on hiring and training, and for what? To see valuable employees walk out the door?
It's not just staffing costs — businesses lose out in the war for top talent when they don't make their operations woman-friendly. They lose out on future creative directors and partners, CFOs and CEOs. Depending on the industry, they risk alienating female customers with too few female minds behind products and pitches.
So what makes women stay? According to the CCB study, pay ranks highest among considerations. Yet 44 percent of our survey takers don't believe they earn as much as their male colleagues. Another 30 percent aren't sure.
Following closely after pay are feeling respected by management, then flexibility — and not just for women with children at home, but for boomers caring for aging parents and millennials seeking advanced degrees. Flexibility is actually a bright spot, with 66 percent saying their company's flex policy is sufficient.
“It starts at the top,” said Timothy Walbert, CEO of Horizon Pharma, which ranked No. 2 on CCB'S list of Best Places to Work for Women Over 35. Mr. Walbert himself values flextime so he can coach his kids' sports teams. His specialty pharmaceuticals company isn't suffering. Quite the opposite: It is on track to hire 350 to 500 people this year.
So what can one glean from the CCB survey on women in the workplace? Businesses can do well — and do the right thing.
This editorial appeared in Crain's Chicago Business magazine, a sister publication of Tire Business.
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].