Women in Today’s Workplace3 Aug, 2015 By: Megan McClafferty, Impact Networking LLC
In today’s economy, it is no secret that business practices and workforces are becoming more diverse than ever. Industries -- more specifically, the office industry -- is commonly known for being male dominated. With women making up about 49% of the entire labor force, more are filtering through to these commonly male-dominated industries each day.
How they are changing
Office technology companies are driving the evolving nature of their industry with new programs and hiring practices. Managers are recognizing that differing perspectives and skills that female employees bring can be beneficial to both company culture and the bottom line.
For evidence of this demographic shift, just take a look at industry organizational charts. Female leaders hold less than 15 percent of executive level positions.
But Konica Minolta, one of the office technology industry’s leading companies has increased the amount of female mid-level managers by 21 percent and increased the amount of their female professionals of 42 percent. Konica holds career development programs that encourage female employees to reach their potential. A recent initiative called “Step Forward” is a monthly forum that enables participants to give and receive advice to support women at all career levels. Both men and women attend workshops led by experts in various local industries. Topics have ranged from owning your strengths to communicating with confidence and navigating team dynamics. This co-ed program aims to bring men and women together to empower female employees.
Across the industry we are seeing a higher investment in training programs aimed at developing important leadership skills. When women are promoted to executive positions, it perpetuates the hiring of women for leadership positions. Successful women begin to pave the way for others to follow, creating a pipeline of female leadership.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of talented and remarkable female mentors in our industry,” Ashley Davis, a recently promoted Sales Manager for Impact Networking, says. “My hope is to instill the same professionalism, passion and expertise in my team as they have for me.”
What it means for the industry
Women bring a variety of skills and backgrounds that benefit and complement a male dominated workplace. Some benefits include:
- Females currently represent 74% of professional administration roles, including: office managers, receptionists, assistants etc., and tend to be office technology users. Female sales reps can relate and communicate quite effectively with this segment of office technology decision makers.
- Women have the natural ability to multitask. Making a sale over a phone call while simultaneously sending out a confirmation email is nothing out of the norm.
Women also tend to be clean and work hard to be organized. This proves beneficial when it comes to meeting deadlines and following up on appointments.
- In order to get to the top, being focused and driven is nothing new for women trying to make it in a male dominated workplace. An employee from a leading Midwest dealer says, “It takes time, hard work and serious dedication to earn a higher position as a female in this industry”.
- When a workforce consists primarily of one gender, ideas can become redundant. Women bring diverse backgrounds and life experiences to male dominated industries, allowing them to bring different thoughts and ideas to the mix. Having a fresh perspective can generate creative and unique approaches to the project at hand.
- Companies with high amounts of female employees tend to outperform those with less. The top-quartile companies for female employment (companies with19-44 percent female employee representation) earn on average 41 percent higher revenue and exceed in operating efficiency by 56 percent Having a diverse and engaged company can have as high as a 58% higher increase in revenue.
- While this can be considered a negative to some, women bring their emotions to the table. Being intuitive, understanding and compassionate and persuasive allow women to perform and manage in an efficient manner. Women tend to listen to the issues at hand, and make conscious and thought-out plans that benefit the company as a whole. Another valuable tendency women have is to nurture. They are able to create and nurture relationships by being a positive influence in helping employees to grow and improve in performance.
- Financial Increase
One of the challenges of promoting more female employees into management is attracting women to the industry, and this takes an understanding what they seek in their own career aspirations. A quick poll asking some female professionals what attracted them to the industry, the majority responded: that it is challenging and offers great experience for future career growth; the technology will always be needed; and it’s a constantly changing industry. Overwhelmingly, respondents noted the company culture was very important in their decision, as was the opportunity for growth, advancement and the opportunity to make a good living. The majority of women expressed interest in management. The few who did not have interest in management roles cited the long hours and potential to make more money as a sales rep with less responsibility.
Women have a lot of value to bring business. As long as companies can develop a culture that attracts and advances women, integrating women into the office technology industry will evolve into a mutually beneficial arrangement for the industry, for dealerships, and the women who work there.
Writer Megan McClafferty is Digital Marketing Assistant for Impact Networking LLC. Founded in 1999, Impact has grown to be the largest independent office equipment and document technology provider in the Midwest. www.ImpactMyBiz.com