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ManpowerGroup: Role of Women in the Workforce Increasingly Critical

ManpowerGroup: Role of Women in the Workforce Increasingly Critical

International Women's Day Underlines Structural Barriers Preventing Women From Unleashing their Potential

ManpowerGroup says new, contemporary approaches to work are required in order to break down barriers facing women in the workforce — a crucial step to grow talent pipelines and to spur successful economies.  

Women remain the greatest underleveraged source of talent in the world despite ManpowerGroup's 2012 Talent Shortage Survey finding that one third of employers are struggling with skills shortages. According to the International Labor Organization, nearly half of working age women are not currently active in the formal global economy, and among Fortune 500 companies, only 15.7% of board seats are held by women.

"What companies are offering women is clearly not what women want. There needs to be a shift toward work models that better provide women the flexibility they are looking for so that the percentage of women in the workforce does not drop off at every sorting of talent," said Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent. "We also need to focus on strategic ways to reintegrate women who temporarily leave the workforce to raise families."

On International Women's Day last week Friday, Swan — who was recently named a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Leadership and HR Executive of the Year for 2012 by Human Resource Executive magazine — gave her global perspective around how flexible working practices can help retain more women in an interview with BBC World Service Radio. Swan was joined in the discussion by Fiona Woolf, who is in line to become only the second female Lord Mayor of London, and Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, founder of Akili Dada, a leadership incubator investing in the next generation of African women leaders. The interview is available online at:

"I look forward to the time when the world no longer needs an International Women's Day because our societies have achieved equality in the workforce and have unleashed the potential of all people," added Swan.

"Companies need to value the diversity of thought, perspective and experience in order to unleash the potential of all of their people, regardless of gender or generation, to nurture innovation and productivity," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO.

 Across the world, ManpowerGroup is committed to providing experience and employment opportunities for women inside and outside its company, including:

Developing a custom solution in France to source, train and recruit women for an energy company that was faced with a serious lack of skilled electricians.

Manpower Australia's Defence Force Recruiting team have launched several initiatives over the past six months to boost diversity, resulting in more women applying for roles in the military. For example, a recent "Women in the Army" event in Melbourne welcomed potential candidates, as well as their families and friends.

A nationwide staffing initiative in Hong Kong to recruit unemployed or underskilled women found through NGOs and non-profits to fill a large number of support positions working in hard-to-fill roles at more than 60 public libraries.   

Our operations in Mexico & Central America (MeCA) have taken steps to help women with disabilities find work, including sponsoring those with visual impairment so they can train as massage therapists, as well as to providing scholarships to assist 129 women in completing high school.

In addition, 70% of ManpowerGroup's leaders globally are women. Last week, ManpowerGroup was named one of America's Top Corporations by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in recognition of the company instituting programs offering equal access to women-owned businesses and world-class supplier diversity. ManpowerGroup was also named a 2020 Women on Boards Winning Company for its commitment to board diversity — 30% of ManpowerGroup's board of directors is comprised of women.


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