Career Zoo Line-Up: Allies Workshops to Focus on Diversity and Equality in the Workplace

Oct 10 2016

All this week, we’ll be honing in on different aspects of the Career Zoo line-up, so that you’re fully informed about what not to miss at Saturday’s event!  Today, we’re introducing our Allies Workshops, a new addition to Career Zoo.  

Allies Workshops will run throughout the day on Saturday, and will focus on ways to unlock massive potential within organisations by breaking down unconscious bias and promoting a diversity agenda. 

Why Promote Diversity at Work?

According to EY, a headline sponsor of Career Zoo and one of the leading employers hosting an Allies Workshop, there’s a strong business case for diversity in the workplace. 

The firm carried out a global survey with the Peterson Institute for International Economics earlier this year, which showed a significant correlation between women in corporate leadership and profitability.  The subsequent report, ‘Is Gender Diversity Profitable?’, shows that an organisation with 30 per cent female leaders can add up to six percentage points to its net margin.

EY will host an LGBTQ Allies Workshop at Career Zoo on Saturday (at 2.45pm), with input from Catherine Vaughan, head of the firm’s LGBT network and recent winner of the ‘Senior Leader of the Year’ award at the 2016 GLEN Workplace Equality Index Awards.

In addition, Julie Fenton, Partner & Head of EY’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services and Head of the firm’s Women’s Network, will speak on the topic of ‘Disruption in Professional Services’ on the Career Zoo Main Stage.   

In advance of the event, Julie shared some of her thoughts on the business case for gender diversity.

“Everyone knows gender diversity makes sense for business, but – in the past – there was never any tangible way to measure this,” she said.  “The research we conducted last year looked at 56 different countries including Ireland. 

“What the research proved is that, where there are more women in corporate leadership positions, those companies have better profitability.  Companies with women in senior roles are also more innovative.

“From a practical level, if we can retain more women in the workplace as their careers progress, that also makes business sense.  If women leave a business in their late 20s or early 30s, just when they’ve reached middle to senior management level, there are tangible costs for the business in terms of recruiting and training replacement staff, and there are intangible costs due to the loss of corporate memory, knowledge and skills.”

How Ireland Rates for Gender Diversity

EY’s report on gender diversity ranked Ireland 28th out of 56 countries for the number of women in senior leadership roles.  Amongst the Irish companies surveyed, only 12 per cent had female board-members; two per cent had a female chair; and eight per cent had a female CEO.

To address this situation, Julie Fenton believes employers need to take three main steps.

“Firstly, we need to help women see how they can progress; build a pipeline; and make sure that they know they can progress up the career ladder in manageable, bitesize steps,” she says.

“Secondly, employers must offer good policies and procedures to support diversity, for example good maternity leave entitlements.

“Thirdly, and most importantly, employers must cultivate an environment where the workplace culture supports people who take advantage of those policies and procedures.  You must not be derided or looked down upon for sometimes working from home or for working flexi-time, or for taking parental leave.”

Allies Workshops: Topics and Times

Apart from EY, a number of other companies and organisations will share their experiences of promoting diversity during Career Zoo’s Allies Workshops. 

The first workshop of the day will take place at 11am, and will focus on ‘Building Confidence in Networking’.  It will be hosted by James Milligan, Director at Hays and co-founder of MinT – Mentoring Women in Technology

Next up, at 12.15pm, will be Etsy’s ‘Allyship Workshop’ hosted by Niamh Donnelly, Corp IT Engineer with Etsy, and Andrew White, Director of Web Operations.

At 1.30pm, there will be an ‘Unconscious Bias Workshop’, hosted by Mary Carroll, Vice-Chair of WITS (Women in Technology and Science). 

EY’s LGBTQ workshop will take place at 2.45pm, while the final workshop of the day will be hosted by Pauline Sargent of #Digiwomen, and will focus on the topic of ‘Imposter Syndrome’. 

Further information on the Career Zoo line-up is available here

Allies Workshops at Career Zoo on Saturday are free to attend.  Spaces for each workshop are available on a first-come-first-served basis.