Because as a boss and CEO of a recruitment firm that provides talent to industry-leading companies, I’d question how good any company is that doesn’t have the confidence and basic desire to employ women. And, if they’re even companies you’d really want to work for. Here’s why.
1. Not a big problem among the growing, high value companies we work with – This is why I wonder if the companies setting this trend are ones that are experiencing less success these days. Because their platforms are less attractive, they don’t attract the best or most professional talent in the market. Instead, they attract candidates who are less professional and have less value to offer. These companies are concerned about women joining them for the financial and maternity benefits they can get when they get pregnant, while not bringing them much value, because this happens to them fairly often.
But for growing companies that can attract good talent, they’re not so worried about this. At least, I haven’t seen this trend or concern about employing women among the multinational and leading Chinese companies we work for. For good companies that continue to grow, their priority is always to hire the best people they can, not the ones who can save them money.
These companies know that there’s no way they can achieve their success by just relying on hiring men. China doesn’t have a mature talent market. There’s simply not enough good talent out there. There’s even an expression for this among employers. It’s called, The War on Talent. So how would you even compete, let alone become a leading industry player with a policy or orientation that doesn’t want to employ women?
Successful companies and good employers are confident in their hiring process and ability to screen out talent that’s not very career-oriented, mature, or committed to the opportunity and situation they offer. They assess these things from your employment track record and during your job interviews with them.
2. Simply put, successful companies employ women - I don’t have statistics on the level of success of companies that don’t like to employ women versus companies that view women as essential to their success. And I don’t think I need to argue how capable women are and the value they bring to a company. But if anything, I know top companies that rely on women for their success.
For instance, EF Learning, a global leader in English language training, employs roughly 60% women in China, including many in top management roles. A Managing Director for a global HR services company told me recently that over 80% of their Associates are women. In addition, the marketing and HR talent we place into top internet companies, including BATs, are at least 50% women, if not more.
3. Not the direction of other mature markets and economies - In the U.S., where I’m from, you find many successful companies with mature, developed business practices. Not wanting to employ women isn’t one of them. I’m sure it’s the same in Europe, Australia, Japan, etc.
Not a big problem among the good women talent we see
In addition, who are the women who are worried that employers don’t want to hire them? Are they ones who offer less value to employers and can only get jobs in less successful, less desirable companies? Because again, our company doesn’t see this concern among the women we work with who can attract opportunities from good companies and high value employers.
For such women who have more value to offer, I don’t believe this orientation among some companies of not wanting to employ women is a big issue. But for lower value candidates who can only attract opportunities from employers who think this way, it will be.
The value you offer determines which reality you face, for both employers and candidates
By the way, as a company owner, I know the impact that women going on maternity leave can have on a company, and not just financially. A few years ago, five of my six top managers were either pregnant or on maternity leave at the same time. Frankly, for a smaller company, like ours, this created a very tough situation for us. During this time though, not one person tried to take advantage of our company. If anything, they did their very best to perform their job well and support the company as long as they could. They also made every effort to return once their maternity leave was over.
Like our clients, our hiring process emphasizes identifying people who have clear career goals and purpose for joining our company. We’re clear on the type of people we’re looking for and what we can offer them. When we share this with candidates who interview with us, many will tell us they definitely have plans to start a family, but their current priority is their career. That’s not a promise or guarantee, but we are more confident hearing them express their sincere intent and career interests.