Invest in potential, invest in women

March 8th, 2024
Dina Taylor, Chief Evangelist
Diversity & Inclusion

Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are a time to celebrate women and girls around the world, and they’re also helpful reminders to sit down and meaningfully strategize about how to further improve the position of women. This year’s UN theme for International Women’s Day is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress,” and it got me thinking about the ways leaders can make significant changes in the lives of working women, their families, and communities by committing to hiring for potential.

The Motherhood Penalty

Not all women are mothers, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 71% of mothers with children at home are working. And unfortunately, the effects of becoming a parent are often damning for their job prospects and salaries:

  • Research has shown that hiring managers are less likely to hire mothers compared to women who don’t have kids
  • When employers make job offers to mothers, they offer a lower salary than other women
  • A study by Census Bureau researchers found that between two years before the birth of a couple’s first child and a year after, the earnings gap between opposite-sex spouses doubles.

How can leaders counteract these costs?

Implement flexible interview and work options whenever possible. Taking time in the middle of the day to drive to an interview requires moving logistical mountains for many caregivers. Eliminate the scheduling barrier altogether with on-demand interviews that can be taken on her schedule.

Conduct a pay gap analysis. HireVue conducted a gender pay gap analysis in 2023 to ensure that it was meeting expectations for pay equity. The director of the study reported that the results were the best he’s seen and that the gap is “essentially non-existent.”

Remove unnecessary resume requirements. Outdated job requisitions based on irrelevant academic achievements and unnecessary experience requirements penalize women, especially when identities such as parenthood, race, disability, and gender identity intersect.

Prioritize potential for today and tomorrow

We’re at an inflection point where demographic shifts and AI innovations are colliding in interesting and unforeseen ways. Now is the time to change your hiring processes to prioritize potential and achieve greater diversity. According to Gartner, the number of skills needed for a single position is increasing by 10% year over year, and over 30% of the skills needed three years ago will be irrelevant shortly.

Leaning into hiring for transferable skills and potential over experience alone will help bring more women into your workforce while filling roles that might otherwise languish due to an experience shortage.

Using our deep expertise in science, AI, and data, HireVue’s Find My Fit™ assessment can help you understand a woman’s potential and match her to jobs where she can excel today, while also suggesting a path for the future. We like to say that hope isn’t a hiring strategy, and hope isn’t a solution to inequity either. Tools like Find My Fit™ have a documentable result on moving the needle toward progress.

Campaigns like International Women’s Day are a time for optimism, a reminder that there are millions of people committed to changing the world for the better. But IWD is also evidence that there’s still so much left to achieve in the fight for women’s equality. While sometimes problems feel too big for any of us to make a meaningful difference, in the case of hiring equity, the power is in the hands of leaders like you every day. Change is possible. I see it every day at HireVue. It’s time to make the right investments for progress. Join us.