Fellas, consider this your wake-up call! Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some really interesting conversations with men at a senior/executive level in the workforce. They each had one thing in common:
Concern about not gaining employment due to the public promotion of women.
As you can imagine, these kinds of conversations always halt me dead in my tracks and I deliberately stop myself from making assumptions as to what’s really behind these thoughts. When I dig deeper by asking questions, these men typically go on to mention the quotas, targets and stipulations enforced by some organisations that require 50 per cent of their shortlists to be made-up by women. It’s important to differentiate right here that we’re talking about shortlists, not actual job placements.
When having these conversations, my mind often takes me back in time and I think: welcome to my world 20+ years ago when this was happening in reverse.
I go back to what feels like yesterday when I was knocked back for a property loan for no reason. I refused to give up and after hinting that my friend who works in the media could make a great headline out of the story – single executive refused loan due to gender and age – things quickly changed. Within 24 hours, I got a phone call…and the loan!
Think that’s confronting? How about not getting a job solely because I was at an age where women typically want and have babies? This also happened to me and yes, the employer actually said this. How times have changed! Well, at least in terms of what is widely discussed in the workplace and provided as productive feedback.
If you ask me, it’s a real shame that we’ve had to develop policies, quotas and targets to ensure women gain traction and actually progress in the workplace (or in some cases, simply get their foot in the door). On the other hand, we’re finally seeing real traction and women being recognised for what they bring to workplaces.
Now guys, firstly, it takes guts in today’s climate to express that you’re feeling hard done by but (and it’s a big ‘but’)…if you truly feel like you’re missing out solely because of female candidates, you are wrong. It’s that simple. Today’s changing work landscape does not mean there aren’t roles for you and that women are securing (or as I prefer to say, earning) all available roles. With my Career and Leadership hat on, I have one key takeaway for you:
You need to make yourself relevant and differentiate yourself more from others.
In other words, this is really about your career currency and what experiences and value you bring to the table. How are you different from other experts in your field? It may be time to refresh your mindset and kickstart something new. Avoid falling into the trap of being complacent about what you’ve achieved during your career. Position yourself strategically, be honest with yourself and ask the hard questions:
- Am I a little stale?
- What can I do to be at MY best?
Women work hard for their positions and their career in general. If you want to impress, focus your attention inward and consider what you can do to improve your current situation.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746.www.ontalent.com.au