A 4 Step Guide to Attracting Females: How to Ensure Gender Diversity in your Early Talent

As employers, what can you do to attract more females to your organisation? We talked to some of our partner diversity societies on campus, some of our female student headhunters, a successful female candidate and the CEO and Co-Founder of STEMettes, to get their insights for you.

It will come as no surprise to AGR Magazine readers that delivering diversity, especially gender diversity, is a big challenge facing many companies when attracting graduates. Indeed, delivering diversity campaigns to dozens of employers has been one of the major catalysts for Sanctuary Graduates’ growth. While some career-paths tend to be naturally more attractive to females (e.g. HR, PR & marketing), many employers from a variety of industries struggle to attract high calibre females, resulting in male-dominated graduate intakes. This problem is particularly acute when attracting female STEM students. And this problem needs fixing.

Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, CEO and Co-Founder of STEMettes (voted 8th Most Influential Woman in IT, 2016!!), tells us, “as our world becomes ever more connected, it becomes crucial that women are represented in the field of technology and wider STEM to help bring their perspective to solve big problems.” So, as employers, what can you do to attract more females to you organisation? Based on some of the many insights we’ve received from our campus networks, here are 4 things to consider.


  1. Make it obvious: Lots of students still aren’t fully aware that they are sought after. Kelly, President of the University of Exeter’s Women in Business Society told us “I know there’s been a big focus amongst companies on implementing policies and strategies to improve female diversity, but students are still not fully aware that the change is happening now and that it will have a positive impact on their application.”


  1. Inspire confidence. Princess, who studied Law at Warwick and recently accepted a place at one of the Big 4 accountancy firms, talked about her initial lack of confidence: “I’ve found in my internships that the boys are generally more confident than the girls. Not coming from a finance background, I was a bit nervous at first because I thought people might think ‘you’re really dumb’.” She highlights that she didn’t initially know her new employer was focusing on improving gender diversity. “It would have given me more confidence to apply because I would have known that they would definitely consider my application”, she says.


  1. Sell your female success stories. Ravella, the founder of the Women in Finance society at KCL, suggests turning your female interns into ambassadors to spread the message, as “hearing first-hand experiences from fellow peers who have completed an internship with a company provides the best insight into what the organisation is really like.” Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, CEO of STEMettes, says that it is “important to showcase the women you already have in the organisation, tell their stories and show their success as a clear signal to the graduate population that they can be successful in your environment.”


  1. Differentiate your events: With lots of employers running diversity events, employers should try to stand out. “There are only so many talks you can go to about women in the work place, or women in finance” says Kelly from Exeter’s Women in Business Society, “and we’re very aware that lots of firms are running similar events. We try hard to have a different take on their subjects, and to make sure the events are varied and that we come at these topics from different angles”. She highlights how employers should look to offer informal events with a particular slant rather than generic ‘Women in the Workplace’ talks to ensure interest and make everything as accessible as possible.


We have a wealth of insights from our diverse campus networks. If you’d like to hear more insights on diversity from the campus grass-roots, please get in touch – tom@sanctuarygraduates.co.uk