#MeToo Movement Leaves Mark on Recruiting

November 7, 2018 – FTI Consulting and women’s leadership firm Mind the Gap found that about 55 percent of the professional women surveyed said they are less likely to apply for a job and 49 percent are less likely to buy products or stock from a company with a public #MeToo allegation.

Twenty-two percent of senior-level women and 20 percent of senior-level men, meanwhile, are concerned there could be an impending #MeToo incident at their organization. The report also found that 28 percent of professional women said they have experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact in the workplace in the last year, and nearly one-fifth said they have personally experienced it.

In the past year, 34 percent of women in technology, 29 percent of women in energy, 27 percent of women in legal, 26 percent of women in healthcare and 25 percent of women in finance said they have experienced or witnessed unwanted physical contact at work.

Of the professional women surveyed who said they experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, 43 percent did not report the behavior, while 57 percent did report. Of the professional men surveyed who said they experienced or witnessed it, 31 percent did not report, while 69 percent did — a 12 percent difference from women.

Search Consultants Weigh In

Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector and its Million Women Mentors (MWM) Initiative as well as vice chairman of Diversified Search, said that the #MeToo movement impacts are significant and should serve as a wake-up call. “Ramifications are everywhere — from schools and organizations, employees and recruits, to the HR world and CHROs, boards of directors, CEOs, men and women, and every organization and institution and the media. Sexual harassment affects employees and the organization’s bottom line,” she said.

“The movement focus on the reality of abuse hits a nerve,” she said. “Results include a vital focus on behavior, training, engagement and communications. So many hundreds of thousands of women and men, too, have come forward and exposed sexual abuse. What matters is seizing the opportunity to educate, set policy and show no tolerance for abuse (and overall sexism) as well. Support the leaders driving action. Place more women and diversity in the executive suite as business role models and all enlightened managers and leaders, stay vigilant.”

“Right now, I am seeing an abundance of caution in the marketplace regarding this timely and important topic,” said Shelli Herman, president and founder of Shelli Herman and Associates. “Candidates are operating with more discernment than ever relative to how they evaluate potential employers. In addition to making sure that companies have a strong track record in hiring and promoting women, candidates (male and female) want to make sure that the companies they are considering have fair and transparent polices in place to handle these allegations.”

“Build a culture that will not tolerate sexual harassment. Wake up and drive changes. Most women have experienced sexual encounters in the work place. Drive the ‘zero tolerance’ and be part of the best places to work. Sad we needed #MeToo but we did and we still do and with that, action.”

“Companies that are already doing the right things will have nothing to worry about. Organizations who are in the midst of change can continue to fine tune their practices to ensure that everyone (men and women included) feels safe, supported, and heard in the workplace,” she said. “My general sense here is that when executives think about what they are doing both in public and private, one salient question must be: Is this practice, action or policy something we would stand by both in the boardroom and in the news media? The right things are still the right things!”

“Build a culture that will not tolerate sexual harassment. Wake up and drive changes. Most women have experienced sexual encounters in the work place. Drive the ‘zero tolerance’ and be part of the best places to work. Sad we needed #MeToo but we did and we still do and with that, action.”

“The reality of the employment situation in this country right now is that professionals have more options, and that includes women,” said Stacy Pursell, CEO of the Pursell Group. “There are more job openings and more job opportunities available. So, taking that into consideration and operating against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, it makes perfect sense that women are being selective in their choice of employers and avoiding those that have been implicated in allegations,” she said. “The conditions exist in the marketplace for them to be selective, and they’re leveraging those conditions.”

“It’s encouraging that executives have changed their behavior in the wake of the #MeToo movement. That’s indicative of a conscious effort to improve the culture and the atmosphere of their organizations,” Ms. Pursell said. “It’s also indicative of an effort to avoid any behavior that could be construed or interpreted as harassment. While this is good news, it’s also partly reactionary in nature, to the point where some executives may be excluding female employees from business-related activities to completely eliminate the chance of an allegation.”

“As it’s only been a year, it will take time for a more balanced approach to manifest itself in the employment marketplace and for organizations to devise and implement sensible strategies for combating harassment while still providing opportunities for women to thrive in the workplace,” Ms. Pursell added.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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