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IWD 2024: The benefits of talent mobility for women
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

In the fast-paced changes of the modern workplace, talent mobility—the ability for employees to move within an organisation to different roles, projects, or geographies—has emerged as a critical factor in fostering an environment of personal growth, satisfaction, and equality.  

This is particularly true for women, who regularly face challenges in achieving visibility and career advancement. I have been fortunate in my career to live in six countries and lead teams supporting 14 countries. I was often only one of a couple of women in the Asia Pacific leadership teams I worked in. And yes, at times, that could feel really awkward.

It is great to see diversity in all respects change for the better during my career. In my professional life, I have learned to set a career vision and hold true to my values, and to work for a company I trust, with products or services I believe in, and which has the same values as you. 

There's no doubt, though, that there's still a way to go to achieve full parity for many women.

The Importance of Talent Mobility 

Our 2023 Global Talent Mobility Study surveyed more than 2,000 employers and employees across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. The study uncovered that almost three-quarters (73%) of employees are interested in learning about new roles within their organisations. Women were 33% more likely than men to say they would like to explore projects that help them learn new or different skills.

There is a significant demand for transparent and accessible career mobility opportunities—a demand that, when met, can drastically improve employee engagement and retention.

Talent mobility doesn't need to only be an upward move. Lateral moves can be just as valuable for employees as they can offer them broader experience within the business and the opportunity to explore other areas of interest.

However, a concerning disparity exists: According to a joint report by Cornerstone and Lighthouse Research & Advisory, entitled "Ready, Set, Grow: The Building Blocks for High Impact Mobility", women are 50% more likely than men to report a lack of visibility into internal career opportunities.

This gap in visibility exacerbates the challenge of gender inequality within the workplace and contributes to the broader issue of the gender pay gap. 

According to The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) data released last week, most employers with more than 100 staff display a gender pay gap favouring men, with 50 per cent of companies reporting a gap of over 9.1 per cent. 

The World Economic Forum figures show the Global Gender Gap score in 2023 for all 146 countries stands at 68.4%. This is a nominal 0.3% overall improvement. It has previously predicted a timeline of 132 years for women to achieve complete equality with men in employment. It says the key to fast-tracking a balanced recovery will be the provision of education and skills to women

Online education can play a crucial role in equalising opportunities for women, offering improved prospects and better job opportunities.
Leveraging Technology for Career Mobility

More generally, the research indicates a shift away from traditional manager-employee discussions towards a preference for using technology to explore career opportunities. Employees expressed an 80% higher preference for self-service technology options over conversations with managers regarding understanding available career paths. 
The technology trend offers a notable advantage for organisations willing to invest in and develop robust talent mobility platforms that can democratise access to career opportunities and significantly improve visibility for all employees, especially women.

The Case for Talent Marketplaces

A talent marketplace—an internal platform that facilitates matching employees with various career opportunities within an organisation. LinkedIn's 2022 Global Talent Trends report found that workers who made an internal move at their organisation at the two-year mark had a 75% chance of remaining there, compared to 56% for those who didn't. A Talent Marketplace can also be used as a powerful tool for addressing women's workplace challenges. 

By providing a transparent, accessible, and equitable means for employees to explore and engage with career growth options, talent marketplaces can play a pivotal role in levelling the playing field. 

Moreover, employees who can explore and act on career growth options report higher levels of job satisfaction, a stronger belief in the company's positive direction, and are more likely to remain loyal to and stay at the organisation, highlighting the importance of talent mobility for individual employee satisfaction as well as its impact on organisational success.

There are enormous benefits in talent mobility, particularly for women. By fostering a culture of transparency, accessibility, and equality in career advancement opportunities, organisations can address the critical issues of gender inequality and pay disparity. 

Investing in technology-driven solutions, such as talent marketplaces, can empower women to navigate their career paths confidently, ultimately contributing to a more engaged, satisfied, and equitable workforce. In doing so, businesses can enhance their organisational health and take a significant step towards achieving true gender equality in the workplace.