How to Ensure Gender Equity in Healthcare Hiring
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports the healthcare sector is made up of 70% women. However, there is an 11% gender-related pay gap. The organization states, “gender transformative policies are needed to address inequities and eliminate gender-based discrimination in earnings, remove barriers to access to full-time employment, and support access to professional development and leadership roles.” Women make up 80% of healthcare employees, but only half that number makes it to the executive level.
Gender equity is becoming an increasingly important issue in the healthcare field. How can healthcare organizations achieve gender equity in their hiring practices?
Barriers to Achieving Gender Equity in Healthcare Hiring
We know there are shortages in healthcare positions for all kinds of positions. That would argue for women not experiencing barriers in entry into the field. The problem is that, as women progress in tenure, they are not making it into leadership roles at the same rate as men. Organizations seem to be failing in their efforts to promote women into higher-level C-Suite positions, which creates a serious inequity between the number of women in the field versus the number of women that have a seat at the leadership table.
Advisory says the numbers are grim:
- Executive level 43% female and 57% male
- Director level 65% female 35% male
However, women make up the majority of frontline leadership roles, with 76% female and 23% male. But the healthcare industry is heavily dominated by male CEOs. Men earn an average of $33,674 more than women in healthcare. That’s a gender-based pay gap of nearly 40%.
What is going on?
It’s not education; the data shows women pursuing more educational opportunities than their male peers.
Interestingly, RockHealth recently surveyed women in the healthcare field who suggested geography itself played a part in their inability to advance. In other words, where these workers lived played a role in gender inequality in the field. The study also found that most women also believe the issue will not resolve itself anytime soon.
If healthcare organizations want to be successful, they must focus on attracting and retaining women. A deliberate attempt to promote more women must be a key strategic initiative at every level of these organizations. But all of this starts with frontline recruiting. How can organizations begin their gender equity focus at the hiring level? Organizations should adopt pro-diversity initiatives that focus strongly on recruiting these future leaders.
Healthcare Hiring and Gender Equity
The demand for qualified healthcare leadership is as high as it’s ever been. This presents an opportunity for recruiting teams and staffing agencies to look for qualified talent for leadership roles in healthcare organizations. Given that women are obtaining graduate professional degrees at higher rates than men, there are more qualified candidates than in prior years. Making sure that women are recruiting and potentially hired at all levels of an organization is how hiring teams can overcome the gender diversity issues we face. Battling unconscious bias in the hiring process, establishing diversity metrics that include higher numbers for sourcing qualified female candidates, and even creating succession planning models that recruit from the “fairer sex” gene pool, are all positive ways to improve the gender imbalance we face.
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