Tanuja Randery (right), UK president of technology and engineering company Schneider Electric, believes that businesses which make diversity a priority will benefit from a diverse range of talents, cultures and ideas.
“Diversity is a broad topic, but a good place to start is gender. In the UK, women are under-represented in many different areas, particularly in the technology and engineering industries which have historically been considered “a man’s world”. The greatest progress will be made when men and women work together to promote women’s empowerment and drive gender equality at all levels of the business.
“First, ensure that women are equally considered in the recruiting process, by setting targets and holding recruiters accountable to those too. At Schneider Electric, we’ve set ourselves a stretch target that 40% of all new recruits will be women this year, and we’re pushing our partners in the search firms to ensure we have a good selection of candidates.”
But Randery believes more needs to be done to avoid talented, experienced women from dropping out of the workforce part-way through their careers with no clear path to return.
Strategies could include flexible working arrangements, work-sharing or even “returner” programmes.
“Having a structured talent nurturing programme, including gender targets for internal promotions, is another important part of ensuring the gender gap doesn’t widen at the senior level,” said Randery, who joined Schneider Electric in 2015 from BT Global Services, where she served as president, strategy, marketing & transformation.
“Promoting an inclusive policy and achieving gender balance is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for business too. There is clear evidence that companies with women in their executive committee are more successful,” said Randery.
“A diversity and inclusion strategy is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s a critical objective for UK businesses, impacting both their ability to attract and retain talent, and their bottom line.”