And, while action now needs to replace rhetoric in boardrooms across the country, there is an opportunity for female workers to have their voice heard and plan their next career move.
Here, Clare Martin, Group HR Director at Jardine Motors Group, offers her tips on taking advantage of this current climate, particularly when it comes to rising to the top in a traditionally male-dominated sector….
1. Know your worth – shout about how brilliant you are!
Confidence is key to any successful career. Many women have it in abundance performing their daily job tasks but can feel the pangs of doubt when it comes to asking for a pay increase or promotion. If you believe in your ability and what you bring to the company there is no reason to be afraid to ask for what you want or, more importantly, what you feel you’re worth. Sitting back and keeping the status quo doesn’t do anyone any favours, least of all yourself or the future of other women in your sector. A good tip to remind ourselves of the great stuff we do is to write down daily what you are proud of achieving.
2. Find a new way to change it up!
If you’re unhappy in your role then change it. Ask yourself what you truly want out of your job and find an opportunity that offers what you’re looking for. This doesn’t necessarily mean moving up or even staying within the same industry. Look at taking a more innovative approach when job seeking. Consider what transferrable skills you have that can make you more ‘sellable’ to prospective employers and open those windows of opportunity. For example, at Jardine Motors Group, we don’t require potential
candidates to have experience within the automotive sector, we look for inspiring applicants who have the necessary drive, personality and aptitude to make a positive difference to our business. In fact, over 50% of the people we hire come from outside the motor retail industry. It’s also important to find your passion. If you love what you do, have a supportive team of colleagues and the opportunities to learn and get better, you will soon equip yourself with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to succeed.
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
Male or female, we’ve all experienced situations we could have handled differently; hindsight’s a wonderful thing. It may sound obvious but don’t allow yourself or others to put such a thing down to gender. Instead, learn from your mistakes and use this to help others on their own career journey.
By building a network of like-minded women and supportive colleagues you’re likely to unearth a whole host of invaluable learning opportunities, chances to challenge yourself and improve your skills and capabilities.
This approach may take you beyond your colleagues for peer support. For example, we are part of Women Ahead, a fantastic cross company mentoring programme (part of the Global 30% Club) which matches females with mentors outside their own sector. This mentoring support has proved to be invaluable to those in my business that have taken part. Along with my Board colleagues I also act as a mentor for the programme. This allows me to provide insight on the challenges that women face and ways in which they can overcome them.
4. Be yourself with more skill
The main challenges women have to overcome are based on perception. In the right environment women are brilliant. So rather than trying to emulate the characteristics of a male boss, find your own style and run with it. Not only will this allow you to be more authentic, it will mean your employer benefits from a fresh approach. As I would say to any employer, don’t judge someone based on their gender, judge them on what they achieve. It is also important to accept the areas you need to develop in and work on them; Be yourself with more skill.
5. Inspire others
Use your knowledge, skills and experience to help pave the way for other women and shape a new way of working for all. You don’t need to be in a senior position or earn the highest salary to do this. Role models should be created at every level of a business. If you’re fulfilled in your job then share your passion and approach so other women can achieve the same satisfaction. We should be helping to shape a new way of working for each other and not feel as though we are here to fit-in to a world largely ran by men.
Source: Clare Martin, HR Director, Jardine Motors Group