Issues and Challenges

Prospects of Occupational Diversification for Women

Understanding Occupational Diversification
Employers who know the importance of a diversified workforce are proven to acquire more success in their business ventures, mainly because they dare to tap into a pool of talent that goes unnoticed in most economies. Such employers have an edge over their competitors by harnessing the creativity that comes from multiple perspectives.

Given that 49.2% of the total population in Pakistan is women, the ratio of GDP generated by women on average is 23.3%. It is an ongoing topic of discussion whether diversification in employment is important or not? The answer is, it is a necessity. Here we are going to lay out the facts as to why diversification is important and what will happen if organizations are unable to attain a gender balance in their work force.
Low participation of women in the workforce comes with considerable economic consequences as more than half of the country’s human resource is wasted. Low representation of women in Pakistan’s workforce is an issue that needs to be addressed for the sake of sustainable growth of the economy. Studies have shown that a gender-balanced organization drives more productivity, creativity, Return on Investment (ROI) and success. 
A 2010, research by McKinsey and Company investigated the role women play in the global workplace and the resulting performance benefits that companies gain by having women within their organizations. Results revealed that gender diversity is positively related to the financial performance of  companies. This means that companies with women in senior positions have better financial returns compared to those with no women in senior positions. This is reason enough for companies to be equal opportunity providers. 
Before we get to the benefits of employment diversification for women, let us first see how the world is working with regards to negating occupational diversification. Following are the facts with substantial figures collected via extensive research done by the UN.

The staggering contrast of gender discrimination in terms of diversification in employment is a key factor in destabilizing economy, according to various notable organizations. Gender diversity is as vital in organizations as keeping up with technological trends. Men and women have different viewpoints, ideas and market insights, which enables them to solve problems efficiently. It should not be taken as an obligation by the organization, instead as a productive approach that makes bottomline business sense.
In a recently conducted research, Gallup finds that hiring a demographically diverse workforce can also improve a company's financial performance.

Advantages of Gender Diversification in Business
Gender-diverse teams perform better than single-gender teams for several reasons. Few of these are:
•    Different Perspectives
Men and women exhibit different viewpoints, market insight, creative ideas, etc, which result in more practical problem-solving approaches, therefore leading to better performance and ROI.
•    Increase in Business Opportunities
Gender-diverse workforce can serve in increasing diverse customer base.
•    Better Access to Talent
In a gender-diverse organization talent retention is important, be it male or female, it results in a more productive work force that can help the country grow both socially and economically.
•    Not Missing Out on Neglected Half of the Population Potential
Companies based on gender-diverse work force make use of the talents and abilities of all of the country’s population, thus not learning half the population potential untapped
•    Enhanced Collaboration
Having women on teams can help improve team processes and boost group collaboration. Researchers have observed that women have stronger skills reading non-verbal cues. This benefits groups both when they are collaborating on projects face-to-face and when employees use modern communication and collaboration tools like workplace groups.
•    Business Branding and Reputation
Having an inclusive workplace is a powerful recruiting tool. Millennials, especially females, look for employers with a strong record on diversity. According to research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), — a multinational professional service network of firms — diversity in an organization is important to millennials.
•    Greater Profitability
Time and again, evidence supports the theory that gender diversity has a positive impact on business. A report by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) shows that having women on the board of a company boosts productivity.
Source: MSCI ESG Research, Thomson Reuters

Source: MSCI ESG Research, Thomson Reuters

The Verdict
A key finding in this article is that businesses with gender-diverse workforce can outperform less diverse businesses. Companies should not just hire women for the sake of balancing the employee pool but also give a fair ground where employees can engage and collaborate to turn their differences in thought, behavior, skills, knowledge and talent into innovative ideas and practices that can drive the company forward. Practicing employment diversification can lead to financial benefits and help the company reach its full potential. HH

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