Anyone who follows workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion understands that gender and racial representation are critical to corporate development.

Several studies show that companies with diverse leadership teams are more lucrative and inventive. Employees are more engaged, and client retention is better.

According to research conducted by the renowned management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, when an organization has higher gender and racial diversity, financial outperformance in the market increases by an average of 35%.

6 Ways You Can Ensure Gender Diversity in Recruiting

Women are just as eager as men to learn about new employment opportunities, so we have jotted down 6 effective strategies that you, as a recruiter, can adopt to ensure gender diversity in leadership positions:

1. Determine Your Client Company’s Existing Gender Division to Begin Establishing Realistic Goals at Every Level

Before establishing any gender diversity objectives for a firm, it is critical to understand its current gender ratios. It makes it easy to create realistic yet aspirational goals and track the effectiveness of your strategies.

Firstly, go over the company’s statistics to gain a sense of its overall gender split. Then dig further, examining how it is doing across individual departments, roles, and seniority levels to discover the critical areas for improvement.

If the firm is in an industry with a general problem with female representation, you may want to establish modest goals at first. However, if the company is falling behind its competition, it may be time to establish a more aggressive plan.

Read more: Can recruiters avoid gender bias in the workplace with these 4 steps?

2. Ensure That the Job Postings are Inclusive by Deleting Gender-specific Terminology and Cutting Criteria

It would be best to utilize job postings to bridge the gap between interest and investment. There are other little ways in which job descriptions might unwittingly discourage women; therefore, it is critical to be aware of these variables.

It can sometimes come down to word choice. For example, consider the phrases dominating, outspoken, and rockstar. Since these phrases often have male connotations, women have been demonstrated to be less inclined to apply.

Before publishing, go over the job descriptions one last time to make sure you’ve removed any potentially offensive wording. You may also increase the number of female applicants by going over the job criteria again.

Before applying, women believe they must have more criteria than men. So, if the list includes any nice-to-have but non-essential criteria, you may be harming the company’s pipeline without even recognizing it.

Instead of lumping everything the employer wants under the criteria list, try creating a separate “recommended credentials” list to distinguish between a requirement and an extra benefit.

You may also wish to remove the need for seniority. Because female representation drops progressively between entry-level and C-suite jobs, these criteria can prevent entrance for many excellent female candidates.

Instead, include ample detail about the job’s daily activities and objectives to assist women in determining whether or not the employment is a good fit for them.

3. Consider Including a Pay Range and an Explanation of Your Client Company’s Flexibility Policy in Job Listings

In order to attract more women to apply, job descriptions should contain a wage range. Since gender wage disparities occur in almost every business, this step may help develop confidence early in the process by informing female candidates that the organization is devoted to openness and justice.

If the organization has flexible work choices, emphasize these as well, as they may be crucial for some women.

For example, working from home part or full time, or having the flexibility to accommodate work hours around other commitments, may benefit new moms moving back into the workforce and those caring for ailing family members.

4. Enter a List of Women’s Institutions and Universities Into Your Boolean Searches to Swiftly Uncover Diverse Talent

Your Boolean strings can perform much of your legwork as you look for different talents. However, employing broad phrases such as “women” is unlikely to get you the desired results.

So instead, sourcing expert Glen Cathey suggests compiling a list of women’s schools and institutions and utilizing it to construct your Boolean string.

To refine your results, place the search operator OR between the names of each school, add parentheses around the whole list, and add other search criteria, such as a job title, after the list using the search operator AND to narrow down your results.

You may also try substituting sorority names for college names, as they will typically generate female college graduates with the skill set you’re searching for.

Finally, if you wish to broaden your search beyond people with college degrees, enter a list of female-friendly associations and organizations.

Read more: Diversity hiring 101: A guide for agency recruiters.

5. Make Use of Employee Referrals From Your Client’s Company

A key driver of the gender pay gap is that female-dominated occupations and sectors generally have lower salaries than male-dominated occupations.

As a result, male-dominated organizations can find they have many more men applying to work for them than women.

One of the reasons for this is that a meaningful way for potential applicants to find out about a new vacancy is through word of mouth from existing employees.

However, left of their own devices, these personal recommendations are likely to reflect the existing diversity of the organization. Male-dominated organizations will make male-dominated referrals.

So, to avoid gender bias in referrals, you can ensure targeted referrals. Targeted referrals improve the gender balance among informal personal recommendations. Since there is no gender difference in retention, this could lead to more women in senior positions over time.

Employees naturally tend to make recommendations to people they know. But you can meaningfully rebalance these recommendations. Targeted referrals have the potential to counterbalance the existing gender imbalance in informal referrals.

Before considering targeted referrals, you shoul
d determine if enticing or choosing candidates is the source of recruitment imbalance. In addition, you should test and assess targeted referrals with a broader range of underrepresented groups.

6. Help Your Client Company With Employer Branding

Your client’s employer brand may be the deciding factor for women considering applying to their firm.

To encourage more women to apply or reply, ensure that your client’s workplace branding channels reflect their commitment to diversity. These include their career site and other social media outlets they utilize to advertise company culture and jobs.

One approach to accomplish this is to provide several real tales and photographs of women at their organization. While you may feature female workers at all stages of their careers, promoting women in leadership roles can be highly effective.

It’s more difficult to see yourself in a capacity if no one else in that role looks like you. Thus female leaders can act as role models for female applicants.

As recruiters, you have the ability to make a difference, but you must use practical strategies to effect change. One such strategy is to improve the recruiting process to guarantee that everyone has an equal chance. By following these diversity hiring strategies, you would be doing just that!