Bain: To Recruit Women Successfully, Make Inclusion a Top Priority

New research by Bain & Company shows that those who feel excluded at work are three times more likely to quit than those who do not.

With women exiting the workforce at far higher levels than men during the pandemic, understanding the importance of inclusion is a key factor in recruitment and retention, according to The Fabric of Belonging: How to Weave an Inclusive Culture.

Bain surveyed more than 4,500 women from seven countries across all levels of their organizations. On average, only 25% of women feely fully included in the workplace, and 60% of respondents cited an inclusive environment as important.

“Some industries, such as financial services, are severely lagging behind on their path toward inclusion for women, with 43% of women in financial services having experienced inappropriate language, insults or bullying in the workplace,” says Nishma Gosrani, partner in Bain’s financial services practice. “These industries, in particular, should use the progress made to date as further momentum for the path ahead, increasing inclusion for their women employees that will help create broader gender equity in society overall.”

To increase inclusion, recognize that it’s more important for women than men to be empathetic and to have open and honest communications, the study says. To recommends:

  1. Start with C-level commitments. The leadership team should spearhead the case for change and “understand the value to be unlocked by advancing gender equity.”
  2. Understand intersectionality. Companies should look at specific groups of women, not just women “as a whole,” and consider race or ethnicity, geography, and tenure or place in the organization. This will reveal what actions will most effectively increase inclusion for the various groups within larger group of women, the study says.
  3. Focus on behaviors that increase inclusion for women employees generally. Train leadership and others to recognize biases, sponsor women throughout the organization and show them clear career paths


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