- August 6, 2018
“Women in Consulting”, what do we aim to achieve by using that phrase? It feels anti-feminist to type this into Google, however, some of the key themes that arise from having researched key women in the industry and their writing on the matter can be empowering. According to several key writers on this topic, a selection of the crucial ideas out there that can help women realise their full potential are: growing your confidence and self-love; building an authentic you; support versus mentorship; reaching your full potential through ‘social capital’.
All these themes ultimately apply to all women in business environments, not just in Consulting.
Our client-base in engineering, technology, finance and many other sectors see the female talent pool vastly under-represented. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), ‘Understanding the gender pay gap in the UK’ (2017), the percentage of women in skilled trades compared to the percentage of men is 8% to 92%, in Associate Professional and Technical roles is 38.7% to 61.3% and in Chief Executive and Senior Official roles it is 27.2% to 72.8%.
The number of women in skilled work and leadership positions by percentage is low, this is a fact. So how do we bridge the gap?
In the 2018 book ‘Remarkable Women’ Laura Jane Williams explores the art of loving yourself “…If we practice self-love, everything changes…People love you when you love yourself. And by ‘love’ what I really mean is respect.” Mastering the art of loving yourself, respect, confidence and playing to your strengths are all interconnected. You can grow in confidence by playing to your strengths and others will also understand who you are. By understanding what you value and by knowing your own strengths you will, without realising, portray the authentic you. This is key to building relationships quickly in the workplace.
Seek to work with different types of people. If you always work with people who are going to compliment you, you will never develop. You will continue to do the same things over and over again without improvement. Managementors ensures that coaching and learning from mistakes is part of its project ethos. Make sure you have people around you who are going to mentor you by telling you the hard truth, whilst counter-balancing that with someone who will give you support and tell you what you need to hear when your confidence is dipping.
‘Social capital’ is an interesting idea, which has been explored by Natasha Abajian, a Business Psychologist at Deloitte (formerly a postgraduate researcher). Through Abajian’s research, she has cited ‘the importance of establishing visibility, building trust and gaining acceptance’ as important in getting to the top of your industry. A significant part of all this is that women in top positions network in a ‘non-gender-stereotypical’ manner.
It seems that there is no one way of promoting more women into leadership positions, but a blend of understanding one’s own skillset to build an authentic you. Surrounding yourself with an honest support mechanism can help to take you a few steps forward. Networking should not necessarily be key to success, but it is an obvious factor that will make you more visible to your peers and senior staff.