What's all the fuss about gender anyway?
It’s been eight years now that we’ve been voted as one of the Top 50 Employers for Women sponsored by The Times. Each year our commendation gets stronger but I still question if women truly believe that this is a great place to work and raise a family.
As a business, this award recognises that we’re geared up to meeting the specific career and work/life balance issues which women face at certain points in their career, alongside, we hope, all of our employees.
So why are we continuing to place so much emphasis on women? We’re good at this, right? We’ve ticked all the boxes, why are we spending time and effort creating all of these initiatives that focus on our women employees? Including today, the launch of this edition of Drive focused on women at Enteprise?
Well, whilst it’s true that we have lots of initiatives to embrace the needs of women through their careers, the figures suggest that there is still more that we need to do. At the moment, we’re good at attracting women and over 41 per cent of our recruits are female.
As a business, a lot of women are making it to level II - currently 30.5 per cent of our level II employee base in the UK is female.
But only 18 per cent of our level III employees are women, and 21.7 per cent of our level IV employees are women. If you dig into numbers of women in rental roles only, those numbers drop. So I have to ask the questions - Are women afraid to have conversations with their managers around planning a career and family? Are our female employees confident to put their name in for promotions? Do they go somewhere else to work to improve their work/life balance? Do women find us a good employer when they return from maternity leave?
However progress is being made as we’ve recently had three level III promotions at Area Manager level. So we need to do more. From our talent acquisition, through our line management and into the individual career plans of our employees, we need to make sure that more women move up the career ladder at Enterprise.
There is a great deal of support for women to do so. Alternative work arrangements (AWAs) are demonstrating that it is possible to combine flexibility for our employees with outstanding customer service and sound business practice and most of our groups are hosting workshops for our women in rental to continue to develop skills and build confidence.
Our task now - and the driver for launching this initiative especially for our UK female employees - is to ensure that women working at Enterprise understand just how much support there is tailored to their needs, and how much we want to listen to them. We don’t want women to be afraid of having meaningful conversations with their managers about these topics. This can be beneficial to all our employees; everyone manages, develops, coaches or mentors women.
In June, it was announced that Pam Nicholson was taking over as CEO of Enterprise. She started as a management trainee 32 years ago, and today she is heading up the company. This is perhaps the best evidence of the opportunities open to everyone at Enterprise: especially women.