How to Attract & Retain Female Talent

Businesses have a vital part to play when it comes to attracting and retaining female top talent.

In the FMCG sector, many of our clients have set targets to address this imbalance in the workplace. However, within most organisations, this is still a challenge.

Marketing and commercial positions face these problems also, with commercial roles particularly male dominated.

Agency and customer meetings, extra working hours, client lunches and out of town travel all contribute to the difficulties working families face.

With a leaking pipeline, support is needed to ensure female talent moves from junior level positions into senior level roles.

How are some of our clients working to address this problem?


Worklife balance

Female employees bring experience, skill, and innovation to a business but due to a lack of autonomy companies are losing valuable talent. Companies who encourage a healthy work-life balance for all employees, position themselves as an attractive company.

  • Flexible Working Practices Introducing flexible working hours across the board that meets the needs of all employees is key. Companies should have a foundation for employees to progress. Working outside the traditional 9-5 opens up more doors and opportunities.
  • Part-time work This is important for existing staff and particularly those looking to return to work after maternity leave. For those out of the office place, it maintains the connection and allows employees to prioritise their work and lifestyle without negative impact.
  • Agile Working Empowering people to use their own processes and procedures to reach business goals gives employees a level of autonomy. This allows working families to adapt to situations.

Creating an environment with a positive work-life balance retains a productive, reliable and skilled team. Companies who encourage a healthy work-life balance for all employees position themselves as an attractive company.

Flexible working

Benefits for Businesses

  1. Employer of choice The number one thing that working families look for in a job is flexibility. A study by FlexJobs found that 84% of families stated lack of flexibility as their main concern. Flexible working practices have a positive effect on a company’s reputation.
  2. Improved Performance Introducing flexible working reduces absenteeism and supports greater levels of productivity. A survey of 8,000 employers and employees by Vodaphone  found a 61% increase in company profits when flexible working hours were introduced.


Working environment

Men are 40% more likely than women to be promoted to management roles. To avoid this, policies and programmes are needed to give female employees the opportunity to advance their career to the next level. Both junior marketing and commercial positions within FMCG are occupied by a high percentage of females. The challenge is advancing this talent to senior level roles. 

If companies want to attract top talent and retain experienced and skilled employees, they need to have a structure in place that gives female employees the opportunity to advance to the next level.
How can they do this?


  • Provide professional opportunities for advancement In some cases, women may not have the same number of years experience as their male counterparts. However, they do have the skills to advance into leadership positions. A focus on the skills needed for a senior position will widen the pool of talent for these roles.
  • Assigning sponsors to women Sponsorship can be crucial for top-performing females. Sponsors not only give advice and coach, they provide support and act as an employee advocate. Endorsing high-performing females to executive positions drives career advancement.

In the FMCG sector, Diageo is committed to increasing the number of women on their boards with 45.5% of women holding positions on their boards for 2016.

Benefits for Businesses

  1. Improved Financial Performance Companies that have a higher percentage of females in leadership positions perform better financially. A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that companies with at least 30% female leaders had higher profits than those with a lower percentage.


Company Culture

Company culture should look outside the usual perks. It should align with the values and goals of your company and the values and goals of your employees. Valuing work-life balance and equality should be at the heart of the culture.

Therefore, companies should aim to remove stigma surrounding procedures and policies

A study by McKinsey & Company found a company’s organisational environment is a vital factor when it comes to women’s confidence. Company culture is even more important than individual factors for women reaching the top.

Commercial roles face a greater challenge than marketing roles as a male dominated sector.

To combat this lack of female representation, promoting inclusivity and gender diversity at the senior level is important. Support and encouragement ingrained in the company culture that supports working families.

We work with a range of forward thinking clients that offer flexible working, home working, and family-friendly benefits. If you are looking for a better work-life balance, we’d love to hear from you!