Harness the Power Of Your Skilled Female Talent: Addressing Barriers To Career Advancement

Share this article

Harness the Power Of Your Skilled Female Talent: Addressing Barriers To Career Advancement

Unlock the full potential of your female talent. The journey up the career ladder is fraught with barriers for many talented women—unconscious bias, fewer mentorships, and limited leadership roles stand in the way. These obstacles do more than halt individual careers; they stifle organisational growth and innovation.

South Africa leads the way on gender equality with a progressive constitution that guarantees equal rights for women in the workplace. However, there's still room to improve. The underutilisation of skilled female talent hinders individual women's potential and the country's economic growth.

RecruitMyMom’s recent Working Women Report 2024 research shows that women are ambitious, with seventy-eight percent aspiring to grow in their careers, however, the report finds that there are several barriers to career advancement for women. 

With the finding that forty-five percent of women are currently seeking another job, the need to address key barriers to career growth is essential if employers want to retain skilled female talent.


Career Barriers for Skilled Female Talent in South Africa


RecruitMyMom conducted research with over two thousand respondents to find out what working women in South Africa truly seek in their careers. The results were fascinating. One of the most valuable findings of the research was how organisations could help overcome the barriers women face with regard to career advancement.


RecruitMyMom’s Working Women in SA 2024 Report


South African women, like many skilled women around the world, face common hurdles in their careers. These include limited opportunities for advancement within companies, a lack of mentors and professional networks, and unequal pay.

The report finds that not many women perceive gender bias to be a significant barrier to their career progression. This is testimony to the success of the women empowerment agenda in South African companies. 


Unlocking potential: Strategies for retaining skilled female talent


Retention through career growth 


Knowing that most women want to advance in their careers, an obvious retention strategy is creating internal opportunities. However, creating internal opportunities is often easier said than done, as a senior person first has to leave the company for the opportunity to become available.  

Something often overlooked when considering career growth is that it does not necessarily mean vertical. Horizontal development offers exciting opportunities for high performers to expand their skill sets and gain valuable experience in different areas. Recognising and rewarding personal growth across all roles, regardless of management status, fosters a culture of engagement and satisfaction.

You can retain top-skilled female talent and unleash their full potential by providing career growth opportunities.


Investing in your future leaders through mentorship 


Mentoring interventions significantly enhance women's business capabilities, offering valuable knowledge and industry insights. Seasoned mentors act as reliable guides, providing encouragement and advice to help women advance professionally. This connection fosters increased self-confidence, leadership skills, and an expanded professional network. 

Additionally, exposure to successful women at all life stages who have shattered glass ceilings inspires, showing that neither gender nor motherhood is a barrier to achievement. Beyond inspiration, mentors and role models facilitate solid professional networks, connecting women with influential figures, fostering partnerships, and providing valuable career guidance.

Read: The importance and value of networking for women in business, by Nicole Sykes; Head: Women in Business Niche, FNB Business.


Build trust by adopting transparent pay structures


The pay discrimination barrier will be overcome if the company is transparent in remunerating its employees. When employees, regardless of gender, feel fairly compensated, it enhances morale and productivity. Therefore, it's in the company's best interest to address any perception of unequal pay openly and promptly. By actively working to eliminate pay discrimination, the company demonstrates its commitment to fairness and inclusivity, ultimately fostering a more positive and equitable work environment for all employees.


Embrace age diversity within teams


Perceived ageism bias affects both younger and older women. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO has released an ageism report and says, "Ageism often intersects and interacts with other forms of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, including ableism, sexism and racism. Multiple intersecting forms of bias compound disadvantage and make the effects of ageism on individuals’ health and well-being even worse." 

Embracing age diversity in a business is excellent for diverse thinking, skills-transfer, training and development, and innovative problem-solving.

Ageism is seen as a barrier to career growth across all age groups in the WHO research, particularly for those over forty-five years old. Given that people live longer and many women find themselves with empty nests nearing their fifties, this is a new season of renewed focus on building a career and not slowing down. These over forty-fives bring both maturity and experience to the labour force. 

Investing in these strategies isn't just about equality, it's a smart business move.  An inclusive environment unlocks the full potential of your female talent, leading to a stronger, more innovative company. When women thrive, your business thrives.

RecruitMyMom is an online recruitment agency specialising in placing skilled women in permanent, contract and independent contract positions. RecruityMom has access to over 250 different skills. Thousands of clients trust us to find them the best skilled female talent.

Visit our website to load a job.