In the Race to Recruit Female Talent, What Actually Works?

Tuesday 29th June 2021

According to a global poll of financial services providers (FSPs), 76 percent are actively trying to recruit more women, significantly more than the average for all sectors surveyed (58 percent). Yet just 36 percent of FSPs said that their diversity efforts had resulted in an increased number of female applicants, a lower percentage than the overall cross-sector average (39 percent).

Against this backdrop, understanding successful diversity and inclusion recruitment strategies is critical in the race for female talent.

During our June working group session on the Future of Work, Marguerite Ekoum and Simon Rey, HR Services and Talent, Learning and Organizational Development Strategy leads at Ecobank, shared how they approach recruiting a gender-diverse staff for the thousands of roles across the bank’s 32-country footprint. Ecobank has shifted from job descriptions with a long list of requirements to job profiles built on the competencies required. That’s because research shows that women tend not to apply to jobs unless they meet 100 percent of the job description criteria while men will apply to those for which they meet 60 percent of criteria.

We’ve seen this same shift in several members, including BLC Bank, whose Competency-Based Interview Guide and Evaluation Tool are featured in Chapter 7 of the “How-To Guide for Becoming Employer of Choice for Women.” The chapter details additional ways to recruit women, such as “returnships” — paid internships with reskilling opportunities for women reentering the workforce after taking extended leave.

Westpac, Bank al Etihad and many other members have had these programs in place for years. Now, they’re gaining popularity across sectors a way for women to return to work post-pandemic.

We encourage you to check the “How-To Guide” for more practical strategies that FSPs in our network have leveraged to identify female talent, evaluate them fairly and match them to the right roles. The first step to getting women into the C-Suite is getting them in the door.

Our next working group session takes place on Wed., July 14 at 9-10:15am EDT / 2-3:15pm BST and will focus on Building and Developing the Talent Pipeline. Email us to reserve your spot.

We invite members to check out previous session recordings on the Vault.