The Gender Pay Gap & the Importance of Retirement Planning

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Gender Pay Gap|The Gender Pay Gap & the Importance of Retirement PlanningWhile there has been progress made in terms of gender equality in recent times, it is clear that there is still much more that needs to be done. The gender pay gap is one of the biggest issues in the workplace right now, especially when you consider that it is not just career earnings that this will impact as it will also result in women having a smaller pension at retirement.

The Retirement Gap

The gender pension gap is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Additionally, it means that women need to plan their retirement finances and make sure that they have taken action to try and bridge the gap as best they can. Key Advice CEO, Will Hale, commented on the worrying issue of the gender pay gap and its impact on retirement finances:

“With women typically earning less over the course of their careers, more likely to work part-time or need to juggle their career and caring responsibilities, the gender pay gap quickly becomes the gender pension’s gap at retirement. It is disheartening that in 2021, women still expect 25% less than their male counterparts and nearly a third expect their income to fall below Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s (JRF) Minimum Income Standard. There is no quick fix to this situation but it does illustrate how important it is to consider all your assets at retirement.”

So, what are a few of the best steps that women can take to plan their retirement finances?

Equity Release

Many people are turning to equity release these days and it can certainly be an effective way to give your retirement income a healthy boost. Essentially, equity release is a way of freeing up the value in your home. The loan amount and any interest are paid back by selling once the last borrower dies or they move into long-term care. Equity release can be a great solution for many homeowners, but there are key considerations so you should always speak with an equity release specialist to see if it is right for you.

Passive Income

Anyone looking to grow their wealth and build towards a brighter retirement may also want to look into passive income streams. This can be a smart way to boost your income while you work and requires little effort once it is up and running. There are a few passive income options, such as rental properties, affiliate marketing and dropshipping businesses.

Investing

Investing is also a smart move for anyone looking to improve their retirement fund. Obviously, there is risk when it comes to investing, but options like index funds can be a smart way to diversify and build wealth over time.

There is no quick fix to the gender pay gap issue, which means that it is important that women are planning ahead when it comes to retirement and doing all that they can to boost their finances.

CV Writing Tips to Land A Job In Diversity And Inclusion

StrategyDriven Professional Development Development Article |Diversity and Inclusion |CV Writing Tips to Land A Job In Diversity And InclusionDiversity and inclusion is a relatively new field of work that has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. The widespread social unrest that defined the end of 2020 has sparked a much-needed conversation on diversity and inclusion. As a direct result of the improved visibility of social issues relating to ethnicity, gender, physical ability, etc., we now see companies implementing more policies that aim to improve the working environment of their employees.

To do so, businesses have had to actively look for talent that can implement diversity and inclusion practices, which has resulted in a boom of hiring in Q2 2020. The number of hires in diversity roles more than doubled in that period, which is remarkable in the current state of crisis – and the trend doesn’t seem to abate.

With this being the case, many people are seriously considering trying their chances at jobs that have a diversity and inclusion focus. However, while the demand for such talent is high, the competition for positions is also quite fierce, and you’ll need your CV writing skills to be as sharp as possible if you want to land a job. Here’s what you need to consider.

Know What A Diversity & Inclusion Position Is

First things first – no two diversity and inclusion positions are alike, even within the same company. Due to the fact that diversity and inclusion practices, initiatives, and positions are something of a novelty, no industry has a unified vision of what a diversity and inclusion job should be. The fact that companies are vastly different and have varying circumstances, needs, and requirements further complicates matters.

Some companies have taken an active interest in promoting fair treatment of their employees and making sure that the working conditions in their offices are as welcoming and inclusive as possible. These companies will be looking to add diversity and inclusion officers to their boards, whose jobs will be to make company policy that steers the business in that particular direction.

Companies going the extra mile to promote belonging will also need experienced managers who are well versed in diversity and inclusion to implement said policies.

Some companies that wish to push for more representation in their workforce will need to employ diversity recruiters. Those will need to be experienced HR specialists while also being trained in promoting diversity, equality, and belonging.

The pattern here should be obvious by now – having diversity and inclusion qualifications is usually an additional requirement, rather than the main function of the position in question. Sure, it’s an important part of the job – but a company looking for a diversity manager or diversity recruiter will probably seek experienced candidates, first and foremost. Take this into serious consideration and tailor your CV accordingly.

Emphasize Your Skills And Experience

Before you apply for a diversity and inclusion position at a company, you need to do your due diligence. Research the company and its products, achievements, and goals. Read through their press releases, and familiarize yourself with their way of doing things as much as possible.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter – they will need to hire people to drive diversity and inclusion initiatives forward, that much is true. However, their most important job is to get people who are right for the position and right for the company. Make sure you take every opportunity to demonstrate that you are the best person for all of their needs.

Ideally, you should arrange your achievements, skills, and qualifications in a manner that would be most readable and useful to HR. Once you make sure all of your credentials are in check, make sure you modify each and every one of them to link them to fit the diversity and inclusion focus of that position.

Advertise Your Personal Qualities

Lately, companies have come to put a high value on soft skills, such as optimism, communication, openness, etc. The ability to deal with failure, the ability to work in stressful circumstances are especially relevant in the current crisis climate.

However, a job in diversity and inclusion requires a very particular set of qualities, such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and cultural sensitivity.

Moreover, being able to demonstrate that you have a deep personal commitment to the idea of inclusion and diversity will most likely be crucial for landing a job in this field of work. You will need to be outspoken about your ideas of implementing diversity and inclusion policies at every level of the company and convincing in your argument of why you’re the best candidate for the job.

The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in Business

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Diverse Workforce|The Benefits of a Diverse Workforce in BusinessThe debate over diversity in the workplace is one that has taken up acres of newsprint across the years, and which remains a hot button issue through to the present. It’s not one we’re going to solve here, but it is worth looking at some of the reasons diversity is considered to be so important. It’s not just a matter of ticking boxes, as you’ll see below.

Diversity of background brings diversity of thought

While there is nothing objectively wrong with hiring from the same talent pool each time you bring someone in, the absence of diversity can hurt a business in terms of results. If you have a team of six people, and all six grew up in the same kind of area, had the same education and the same life experiences, there’s a decent chance – though not a certainty – that they’ll think the same way about problem solving. Really, you want a Plan B, and ideally C and D too, so a range of experiences helps.

A broader conversation helps everyone learn

If done organically, the building of a diverse workforce means that people who aren’t ordinarily exposed to a certain way of thinking can have their horizons broadened. This is as true for the perceived “outsider” as it is for the “insiders”. Everyone can gain some insight into another way of doing things, and it makes a business stronger.

Over time, bias can be corrosive

It is somewhat natural that people will seek out others like them in a lot of scenarios, whether that’s two white men gravitating towards another in a mixed group, or two fans of the same singer or radio station. That can be beneficial for harmony, but if it is reinforced over years and even generations it can lead to a business that is not prepared for a changing world. The infographic below explains how diversity can boost a business, and why it is important.


Infographic Design By Ezra Coaching

COVID-19 Has Revealed What We Need More of in Business: The Female Brain

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article | COVID-19 Has Revealed What We Need More of in Business: The Female BrainThe coronavirus crisis is a wake-up call. It’s waking us up to what we need to pay attention to in order to live sustainable, healthy lives on this planet. It’s waking us up to the global leadership and cooperation that’s required to ensure our human survival. And it’s highlighting how the female brain is highly adapted to the actions that are needed — right now.

Across the globe, we’re witnessing shining examples of women leading nations through this crisis (here’s to you, Germany and New Zealand) and instances of the worst kind of dominant male behavior here in the USA.

Women, men, and the balance of power

In each of these cases, women have expressed their power differently than men. But why? Differences in neural connectivity and hormones combine to shape male and female power behaviors. Modern brain scanning reveals that neural connectivity in a female brain activates broadly across the left and right hemispheres as the brain analyzes the many facets of a problem. In contrast, male brain connectivity runs with equal intensity from front to back, focused inside of each hemisphere, but with little connection between the two sides of the brain, giving men a singular focus.

Neurochemically, women’s brains and bodies contain far greater quantities of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. For men, the quantities of testosterone are far higher. Under stress, men’s testosterone levels go up, and oxytocin goes down. In women, it’s the opposite; the stress response increases oxytocin.

Because of these combinations, women and men tend to have different takes on the world. Put simply: women create solutions; men fix problems. Women, by nature, are more inclined to connect, collaborate, and communicate. Men with higher testosterone tend to care more about their place in the pecking order.

To be clear, none of these responses are fully married to either sex. How we respond and react are unique to us, with our life experiences shaping these basic biological underpinnings. But we all know that women and men generally have very different ways of living in the world, based on millions of years of evolution. And, as we are experiencing with COVID-19, you cannot argue with Mother Nature.

Right now, a broad, collaborative, and connected perspective—one that sees the whole and isn’t about competition, ego, and turf wars — is exactly what’s required.

Our ‘new normal’ requires female ways of leading

Research shows that many pre-COVID-19 corporate cultures favored male-oriented brains, having been largely created by certain kinds of men for similar kinds of men. But in this new world of working remotely, female ways of leading are creating the space for neural diversity to speak up and find its voice.

Women who were often silent in big office meetings are speaking up online. So are the less-alpha men, along with introverts. Power and status symbols have been stripped away. Working from home is a great leveler and liberator, and it’s allowed female leadership to access the best of all the brains in the business.

COVID-19 has caused us to hit the pause button. To stop and think. Just like the impact of women coming into the workforce after World War II, we are experiencing the positive effects of a different kind of leadership at work. These coronavirus days are allowing female power to shine. There will be no going back, and the world will be better for it.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Kate LanzKate Lanz is the founder and CEO of Mindbridge, a UK-based global leadership company specializing in the power of modern neuroscience and releasing latent brain potential. She is the author of All the Brains in the Business: The Engendered Brain in the 21st Century Organisation. Learn more at mindbridge.co.uk.

Understanding Neurodiversity: 4 Challenges Faced by Those on the Autism Spectrum

StrategyDriven Diversity and Inclusion Article |Autism|Understanding Neurodiversity: 4 Challenges Faced by Those on the Autism SpectrumAutism is not a condition that can be explained in one sentence. There are a lot of misunderstandings about the condition, with deep stereotypes being the root of the problem. If each person takes the time to understand autism, it can help lead to a healthier social environment. One way to do this is by championing neurodiverse workplaces in your area.

4. The Internet Is Overwhelming

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about autism. The autism spectrum, in particular, has caught the attention of many pranksters, and it is used as a tongue in cheek joke when describing someone. A lot of the language used for autism is offensive when said in public. Due to the massive amount of information overload online, that boundary may not always be clear to people. When someone autistic is asked questions about their condition, it puts them on the spot. Sometimes these conversations can’t be controlled properly in a professional setting.

3. Social Awkwardness Gets Dialed Up

Everyone has a specific type of social interaction that they’re attuned to. There are even some people that can step outside of their comfort zone and blend in with any social situation. For someone on the autism spectrum, social interactions are never a guarantee. That means one meetup might be fine while another one is a complete disaster. Everyone has a social comfort zone, but for someone with autism, that zone is constantly moving.

2. Getting A Job Becomes A Job

Employers want to know that the job can be done with reasonable accommodation. The job market is full of employees that don’t suffer from autism. So why would an employer hire someone that needs special treatment? This is the mentality that someone with autism deals with whenever they go in for a job interview. No matter how capable they are for the position, it is always an uphill battle. Employers will expect more personal information from an autistic employee during the interview process.

1. Never Feeling Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Individuals on the autism spectrum have different physical and mental emotions every day. One always drives the other, so it is never the same feeling. What some may see as mood swings is a natural progression from one day to the next. People need a safe spot to unwind, or someone that understands who they are as a person. With the constant identity shuffling of someone with autism, this can be a challenge. Support groups are helpful, but it will fall on the personal curiosity of the public to create a healthy environment for autism. Understanding the condition is only the first part of respecting the person that has it.

Wrap Up

A healthy dose of respect should be included with all workplace atmospheres. Getting comfortable around people that are different is never easy, even when you prepare. Instead of expecting the worse, go in with a positive attitude. Even if it’s just one person that makes a difference, that is still a step in the right direction.