Silicon Republic: How Do Companies Ensure Diversity in Their Workforce?

By Jenny Darmody

Diversity is probably the top quality jobseekers look for in a company, along with work-life balance. But how do top companies diversify their workforce?

It’s a serious fight for talent at the moment, so companies need to make sure they look attractive to candidates when recruiting.Sure, an appealing salary package and a fun company culture would be a good start, but the buzzword on everyone’s lips at the moment is diversity.

It’s all well and good for a company to say diversity is important to them, but the proof is in the people as much as the policies. So how do some of the top companies obtain and encourage a diverse workforce?

“Embracing diversity and inclusion is a powerful catalyst for success,” said Mairead McCaul, business unit director at MSD Human Health.

The pharmaceutical company has a number of initiatives to promote diversity, including the MSD Women’s Network. “We recently celebrated our inaugural Women in STEM conference to recognise the importance of diversity and women in leadership,” said McCaul.Risk management provider Aon has an inclusion strategy in place to keep their workforce varied.

“To ensure we are attracting a diverse range of talent, we have a number of sourcing strategies, working with community groups and focusing on different talent pools to ensure we are seen as an employer of choice,” said Katherine Conway, head of diversity, inclusion and community affairs at Aon.The company also has a number of business resource groups that focus on bringing together colleagues to help drive awareness of various areas of diversity.

One of the biggest issues that comes with a fully inclusive workforce is unconscious bias. PayPal tackles this with a training workshop.

“It’s an intensive and interactive two-day workshop that helps people identify and overcome both their conscious and unconscious biases,” said Maeve Dorman, head of global operations for PayPal EMEA. “We’ve received fantastic feedback from both men and women who undertook the sessions.”

PayPal also has a prayer room, free international phone booths and a dedicated LGBT network. The company regularly wins awards for its efforts at inclusion. Most recently, they were crowned ‘Diversity Champion 2016’ at the HR Champion Awards.

Storm Technology hosts a monthly ‘Culture Vulture’ day, where the team celebrates counties that employees are from. All of the employees are immersed in the culture of that particular country, from music to food.There is a huge amount of diversity needed in the workforce to create well-rounded teams and different ideas and insights. This includes everything from ethnicity and culture to sexual orientation, education and background. However, one of the first things that comes to mind is gender. When it comes to IT, science and finance in particular, having more women in the workplace is a necessary goal.

At Liberty IT, employees take part in an annual survey on diversity and inclusion. It also has cross-functional groups that touch base with employees for feedback on new policies. Outside of work, the company seeks out opportunities to support women in IT, including the sponsorship of a girls’ code club.

In the UK, Fidelity International has committed to gender equality by supporting a UK government initiative called ‘Women in Finance Charter’, which addresses gender imbalance in the UK financial industry. Across other aspects of diversity, Fidelity International has its own diversity and inclusion network, which has branches in its main global offices. The company also hosts events with guest speakers who talk about mental health, disability and LGBT.

PNC Wealth Management: How To Teach Your Kids the Value of Money

Talking to your children about money when they’re young can help them make good choices later. PNC’s Jennifer Dempsey Fox shares tips for how parents can teach valuable financial lessons to kids of all ages.

Whether your kids spend money like it’s burning a hole in their pocket or consistently save it for a rainy day, having frank conversations about how they earn, save and spend money can be crucial for their financial success later in life.

“As a parent, money is one of the hardest topics to discuss with your kids, but it’s also one of the most important,” said Jennifer Dempsey Fox, a mother of two teenagers and national managing director of wealth strategy for PNC Asset Management Group.

Few schools have formal courses dedicated to money management—and it shows. American teens scored below average on global financial literacy assessments, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If not improved, this lack of knowledge could lead to financial problems in the future.

The solution? Experts agree that as a parent, talking to kids about money is a good start.

Teaching kids the basics of money when they’re young helps them develop a good foundation. Then, when they’re older, it becomes easier to have more nuanced discussions.

These conversations become particularly important when your kids receive money for holidays, birthdays or special occasions and must make decisions on how they will spend – or save – that money.

Let Cash be King

Saving money can be an abstract concept for some children under age five. However, most children at that age are learning about taking turns and being patient. You can maximize these life lessons by explaining that patience now can help them buy something they want later.

Every time your kids receive money, encourage them to set aside some to spend, some to save and some to share with others in need. Asking them to designate their money in this way helps them think about both their short-term and long-term goals.

It may help to keep their money in clear containers so your child can see it adding up (or dwindling). There also are digital tools to help your child visualize this, such as PNC’s “S” is for Savings® account. Your child can “fill” three jars (saving, spending, and sharing) and see images of coins and dollar bills in the jars.

Giving young children cash to use for small purchases can make a difference. When they have to hand over a dollar for a treat in the checkout line, it teaches them that money is more than just a number. Remind your child that a dollar spent on a treat now means they won’t have that dollar to spend on a toy they have been planning to buy later.

Teach with Tech

Teenagers typically can handle more planning when it comes to their money, so it’s not as imperative for them to pay strictly with cash. Fox recommends loading allowance or gift money on prepaid cards.

“Paying with plastic means teens have to keep track of their balance and educates them on the modern money system,” she said. Since prepaid cards have a set limit, teens learn to budget their money to make it last.

When teens want to buy something, they can check the balance on their card before making a decision. “This method has prevented a lot of conflict in our house,” Fox said. “I ask my son or daughter if they have enough money to cover the expense and the answer is simple from there.”

If your teen doesn’t already have one, open a checking account for/with them. Keep in mind you may need to be a co-signer on the account if they are a minor. Teach them to use online banking to track and evaluate how they spend their money and emphasize the value of setting aside savings.

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WPO would like to thank PNC Wealth Management for providing this week’s sponsor blog content

The New York Times: More Women in Their 60s and 70s Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire

By: Claire Cain Miller

Kay Abramowitz has been working, with a few breaks, since she was 14. Now 76, she is a partner in a law firm in Portland, Ore. — with no intention of stopping anytime soon. “Retirement or death is always on the horizon, but I have no plans,” she said. “I’m actually having way too much fun.”

The arc of women’s working lives is changing — reaching higher levels when they’re younger and stretching out much longer — according to two newanalyses of census, earnings and retirement data that provide the most comprehensive look yet at women’s career paths.

Over all, the paths look much more like men’s careers than they used to. Women are more likely than in previous generations to work at almost every point in their lives, including in their 20s and 30s when they often used to be home with children. Now, if mothers take breaks at all, it’s often not until their late 30s or early 40s — and those who leave are likely to return to the labor force.

Most striking, women have become significantly more likely to work into their 60s and even 70s, often full time, according to the analyses. And many of these women report that they do it because they enjoy it.

The data adds a bright chapter to the narrative of women’s progress in the world of work. Even though their participation in the labor force in the United States has flattened in recent years, and as mothers especially face serious challenges, women are working more than ever and getting fulfillment, not just income, from their jobs.

Nearly 30 percent of women 65 to 69 are working, up from 15 percent in the late 1980s, one of the analyses, by the Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, found. Eighteen percent of women 70 to 74 work, up from 8 percent.

This rejection of retirement is more common among women with higher education and savings, though not confined to them. Those who are not working are more likely to have poor health and low savings, and to be dependent on Social Security and sometimes disability benefits, Ms. Goldin said.

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Harvard Business Review: Women Are Less Likely to Apply for Executive Roles If They’ve Been Rejected Before

By Raina Brands and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo

Although women make up 40% of the global workforce, they hold only 24% of senior management roles around the world — a figure that has not changed significantly over the past decade. Of chief executive officers of S&P 500 firms, only about 5% are women. Why aren’t more talented women moving up? Researchers have pointed to an array of reasons, from explicit discrimination to promotion processes that quietly favor men, but one of the most perplexing is that women themselves aren’t as likely as men to put themselves forward for leadership roles through promotions, job transfers, and high-profile assignments.

Women begin their careers with ambitions that are just as high as their male peers, but before long they scale back their goals and shy away from competing for these jobs. The reason, many assume, is because women are risk averse or lack confidence, or maybe because they have different career preferences than their male colleagues do. But our research suggests another reason.

We recently conducted a study of more than 10,000 senior executives who were competing for top management jobs in the UK. We found that women were indeed less likely than men to apply for these jobs, but here’s the interesting part: We found that women were much less likely to apply for a job if they had been rejected for a similar job in the past. Of course, men were also less likely to apply if they had been rejected, but the effect was much stronger for women — more than 1.5 times as strong.

The implications here are not trivial, because rejection is a routine part of corporate life. Employees regularly get rejected for promotions, job transfers, important project assignments, and so on. To reach the top of the organization, people need to keep playing the game, over and over again, even after repeated disappointments. So even small differences between how men and women respond to rejection could lead to big differences over time.


To investigate this effect further, we interviewed top women executives about their experiences in recruitment processes and found a common complaint: dissatisfaction and frustration with how those processes were managed. For example, the CFO of a biotech company recalled that she had been considered for a CEO position. After failing to get the job after many rounds of interviews, she had been left with the impression that she was asked to apply merely because she was female and the firm needed a woman on the shortlist — not because the company was serious about hiring her. This may or may not have been true, but that’s the impression she had, and as a result she said she would be unlikely to put herself through a similar process in the future.

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The Encore: What Walmart Learned About Empowering Small Producers

Through a variety of business and philanthropic initiatives, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation seek to empower small producers – many of them women – around the world. For example, Walmart’s purchase orders can support economic development in agriculture or manufacturing, while also diversifying and strengthening our global supply chain. Philanthropic investments in training programs and access to services can enhance the scale, scope and skill of small businesses, helping to alleviate poverty, while strengthening the resilience of the consumer and supplier base for retail in general across markets.

Recently, we engaged The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, who worked with Oxford University Consulting to analyze our engagement with small producers in developing countries. The researchers focused on two types of initiatives: first, our efforts to incorporate smallholder farmers into Walmart’s agricultural supply chain over the past decade; and second, Empowering Women Together, a platform designed to help very small artisanal producers sell their handicrafts via . The Empowering Women Together platform has been one part of our Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative, which includes sourcing over $20 billion from women-owned businesses and training 1 million women in retail supply chains around the world.

The resulting report provides recommendations to retailers and others who would like to similarly use their purchase orders and philanthropy to elevate small producers. For example:

  1. Retailers should assess the feasibility of sourcing from particular producers using criteria including the capabilities of the supplier organization, nature of the product, market characteristics, and the state of the surrounding market ecosystem. The researchers identified 18 specific factors that influence the success of initiatives involving sourcing from small producers.
  2. Organizations interested in accelerating economic development in a particular region or category should engage stakeholders including retailers, governments, and civil society to build an enabling environment for small suppliers to succeed. The report describes in more detail when and how to do this.

We look forward to sharing additional information over the next year, as we draw near the end of our Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative and deliver on our $20 billion sourcing commitment and our 1 million women training commitment. Stay tuned for more news about that, and what we have planned for the next five years to help empower women and other underserved populations around the world.

Click here to access the full report.

Fast Company: This is the State of Gender Diversity on Boards Around the World

By: Lydia Dishman

One particular problem the recent Snap IPO news brought to light yet again is how few women sit on the boards of directors of major public companies. This, in light of the fact that recent findings from MSCI ESG, a global research firm, indicate that companies with strong female representation on boards generated a Return on Equity of 10.1% per year versus 7.4% for those without.

How is this playing out on a global scale? Egon Zehnder, an executive search firm, has been studying the progress (or lack thereof) of board diversity for 12 years. Its latestGlobal Board Diversity Analysis (GDBA)reveals that there have been incremental gains worldwide. In 2016, for example, almost 19% of seats on the boards of the largest companies in the world were held by women. That’s an increase of nearly 5% since 2012. The GDBA’s authors say this is due to countries making gender diversity a priority.


The data also reveals that most Western European countries, Canada, and South Africa have better representation than the U.S. The analysts find that the U.S. progress has stagnated for the last four years, falling short of having at least two women per board.

Japan is one of 11 countries out of the 44 studied where more than half of the boards have no female representation at all. But a majority (77%) of countries do not have a minimum of three women per board, including Russia and Brazil.

Countries with boards that became less diverse include China, Mexico, Taiwan, Czech Republic, and Turkey. The analysts chalk this up to “stagnation or situations where social, economic, or political headwinds make it difficult to achieve gender diversity on a broader scale, let alone in the boardroom.”


The analysts note that diversity is often led by a board chair. “When diversity is a priority at the top, it will trickle down to board representation, board behavior, and overall mind-set,” they write. But there hasn’t been any progress toward women getting into those roles worldwide. The report found that men are in 95% of those positions.

Countries that have made the most inroads to women in leadership, not surprisingly, have the highest number of female CEOs and CFOs, such as Sweden. At 29%, Norway boasts the highest percentage of women holding executive and non-executive chair positions. Italy comes in a close second with 27%.


On a positive note, the analysts cite Italian and French company boards as “transformed” by government-enforced quotas that were passed in 2011. Italy’s companies have increased their female board representation from 8% to 32%. In France, the shift went from 21% to 38%.

Norway was the first to introduce the concept of board diversity quotas in 2003, and nine countries in this report have instituted some type of government mandate for a target percentage–-usually between 20% to 40%.

“If progress continues at the rate we’ve seen globally over the last two years (1.6% per year),” the analysts write, “the average number of women per board will reach three by 2021, while gender parity remains 20 years away.” Still, they point out, it would be too early to declare a win in four years, because most of the countries that need to make the target are in the developing world.

“A significant share of the female population is still living in countries where the diversity ambition is not yet prioritized,” they observe, “and these regions are decades away from reaching this critical target.”

Forbes: U.S. Lags Way Behind Europe In Number Of Women In The Boardroom

By: David Schrieberg

I’m happy any time I can blow the horn for Luxembourg, my adopted home. On that score, the latest Global Diversity Analysis from professional services firm Egon Zehnder that surveys women in boardrooms around the world offers a few nice notes – although the global symphony they sit within sounds a bit off-key.

First, the relatively good news. According to the study, gender parity internationally is on an upward swing in the 1,491 public companies in 44 countries they surveyed – with women occupying 19% of board seats of the largest companies, compared to 14% in 2012, and increasing a “modest” three percentage points in the past two years.

Zehnder notes that since it began tracking the issue 12 years ago “diversity is most effectively manifested in those countries where gender diversity has sparked a movement through social, cultural, regulatory, leadership or political ambition, or the simple power of persuasion.”

The highest flyers – Italy and France, among others – “have been literally transformed” as a result of government quotas, with the share of women on Italian boards increasing from 8% to 32% and in France from 21% to 38%.

My little plug for Luxembourg comes here: It ranks 7th on the list in terms of growth of boardroom diversity at about 12%. That compares with the U.S. at about 1%.

Overall, in fact, the global winner is Western Europe, where board diversity has grown from 8% in 2004 to 26% last year (compared to 18.5% globally) – with a full one-third of that in the past two years alone, indicating a notable acceleration. And nine of the top 10 countries in terms of progress over the past four years were in the region.

Click here to read more.