Gender diversity leads to higher productivity: Survey

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Reem Mohamed, Head of Public Sector for KSA at LinkedIn

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH
— Organizations are hiring women not just to meet a target but are finding that diversity is tied to performance, according to recent research.

Some 52% of recruiters here believe gender diversity leads to higher productivity and 40% consider that diversity at the workplace cultivates a culture of creativity, according to research conducted by YouGov, which surveyed 300 Saudi women and 300 recruiters.

However, recruiters expressed difficulty in finding top talent when hiring women.

Research by LinkedIn revealed that 37% of women believe employers still need to do more to hire them in key roles. The idea that women are not fit or qualified for a job is a myth, believe more than half of women.

Unemployment among women in the Kingdom slightly decreased from 31.10% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 30.9% recently this year.

Around 19.5% of the workforce are women while labor policies have been formed to nationalize further sectors.

“Speaking to Saudi women, we found that they felt they were missing out on opportunities as their potential was not clearly visible. They were seen as unequipped and felt unsupported,” said Reem Mohamed, head of public sector for Saudi Arabia at LinkedIn, that launched the “Hear it from me” campaign to help increase women’s participation in the workforce.

“Employers need to promote a culture of diversity and start taking action toward finding top female talent and providing them with the best opportunities that fit their skills. By bringing both sides together the narrative can start to change, and the Kingdom can thrive by creating a more productive and creative workforce,” she told Saudi Gazette.

In Saudi Arabia, LinkedIn profiles show that 63% of Saudi women have undergraduate degrees, exceeding several countries, including the United States where 57% of women have undergraduate degrees.

Over 17% of Saudi women have completed a Master’s degree compared to 19% in the United States.

The top industries for female professionals in Saudi Arabia are healthcare, education, corporate services, finance, software and IT services.

Women also value skills development and career path as their top priorities.

Several companies shared their experiences in diversity.

For Bupa Arabia, an organization that achieved a 33% female employment rate, helping working mothers has been a main focus.

The majority of women hired at the company are millennials, many of which enjoy various services such as free daycare as stipulated by the labor ministry in addition to benefits and perks such as an app that updates mothers on their children in the daycare, and educational activities for children.

“Our principles and attention are focused toward providing the leadership, training, professional development and practices that will empower women within our business,” the company told Saudi Gazette.

“Some 25% of our organizational development hiring programs are occupied by females to train, develop and shape for a fast track career path to managerial roles. Bupa Arabia has developed an engaging program for fresh graduates in order to attract young talents from both genders universities and colleges in Saudi Arabia in order to attract more females to our job positions.”

Ghada Almashhady, a manager at the customer care VIP unit, said, “The company cares about equality between genders in all rights and obligations, allowing women to express and share their thoughts, participate fully in making strategic decisions and facilitating women mission in the work place to reach all areas in her she aims to reach without sacrificing her core role in life as a mother.”

SMASCO, a company in what traditionally has been a male-dominated industry, has employed 120 women and is looking fill 50 percent of their workforce with women.

For THIQAH, the company focuses on young talent as part of their talent acquisition strategy. The company’s average age among employees is 27 years,

“As opposed to us enabling youth, honestly they are enabling us,” said THIQAH’s CEO Ayman Alfallaj. “The innovation, challenge, proactiveness, and change in mindset they bring to the table is what makes us leaders in what we do.”

Takamol, the government company and partner of Ministry of Labor and Social Development, has a 33% female employment rate.

Takamol Holding launched several programs aiming to empower women in the workforce such as Wusool that helps women with overcoming the barrier of transportation and Qurrah, offering children’s hospitality services for working mothers.


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