As we have all heard time and time again, the retention and development of women is key for companies especially at senior management and executive levels.  Gender diversity has been talked about for years and will continue to do so.

 However has anything really changed? Is anyone really being creative and providing a solution? The crux for a lot of people is around having a family. It is a beautiful thing and essential for the world yet mums are still disadvantaged within their career trajectory.

 However the US global telecoms company Vodafone Group, only early this March, announced a global minimum for its maternity pay across all of its 30 operating companies of at least 16 weeks paid maternity leave. Yet this is not the innovative policy.  From April 1st, new mums returning to work will be able to work for just 30 hours per week and continue to earn their full salary for the first 6 months.  This is a clear message that talent management is an issue for them that they want to address. They are going above and beyond legal requirements.

 16 weeks may not seem a lot for us in the UK but for the US it is. This new policy from such a high profile brand sends a clear message that they have moved on from rhetoric shown by a lot of other organisations.

 Here is to the future of organisations actively changing policies as opposed to just having focus groups followed by more focus groups.

Clearly a 6 month policy is not the saviour to ending gender diversity but this attitude surely illustrates an organisation that is challenging any unconscious bias that does still prevail.  Many organisations have flexible working arrangements that mums can take advantage of  and extended maternity leaves but these can still be frowned upon quite visibly.

Posted by Catherine Osaigbovo, Associate Director on 17th March 2015

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