4 Ways to Unblock the Talent Pipeline

Our vision is a New Zealand where all people – irrespective of gender, ethnicity, or other label – have the opportunity to thrive in our workplaces and in positions of leadership. We are not there yet.

This raises a few questions. Why, in 2018, aren’t as many women as men making it to the top? Why are more women than men stepping out of the workforce? Why are these issues often compounded for women who aren’t white, middle class, straight, cis-gendered or able-bodied?

While there are no magic bullet solutions to these multi-layered questions, there are proven, effective ways of unblocking the pipeline to enable talented people to rise to the top.


Here’s what we know:

Issue 1: Uneven Caring Responsibilities

We know that caregiving responsibilities, from parenting to elder care, affect women and their careers disproportionately to men. A Harvard Business Review study found that 43% of highly qualified women voluntarily leave the workforce after having children, compared to 24% of men, with no statistical difference between fathers and non-fathers.


Last week, Global Women interviewed Elizabeth Broderick, UN Special Rapporteur on Discrimination Against Women. Elizabeth shared her unique insights on the impact of balancing work and family when flexibility is a given.



Issue 2: Fewer Mentoring Opportunities for Women

We know that women get less of the mentorship and sponsorship that opens doors than their male peers. Women are 24% less likely than men to get advice from senior leaders.


We investigate some of the sponsorship and mentoring options in New Zealand and look into why, as a man, you should commit to mentor a woman.



Issue 3: When Talented Women are Overlooked

We know that talented women who are overlooked or excluded are more likely to feel disengaged and leave their employers.


Global Women’s Activate programme improves the engagement and retention of talented women in New Zealand companies. It lifts participants from middle management, empowering them to move up from emerging to game-changing leaders.



Issue 4: Māori and Pasifika Women face Cultural Barriers

We know that while many women face these barriers on their way to the top, our Māori and Pasifika sisters face an additional layer of obstacles. Students are hampered by a lack of connection to and understanding of the corporate sector, while prospective employers may struggle with limited cultural understanding and unconscious bias.


At Global Women’s recent Diversity and Inclusion Meet Up, senior leaders discussed ways that businesses can bridge the gap and build an inclusive environment.



Innovative internship programme TupuToa creates pathways for Māori and Pasifika students into careers in the corporate and professional sectors.



Women don’t just wake up one day and say ‘I will opt out today’. The blockages in the pipeline that women come up against are preventing us from achieving our vision of New Zealand as a country where all talented people have the opportunity to thrive in the workplace. As we all commit to clearing the pathway ahead, we create a stronger New Zealand together.




Further Reading and Sources:

  1. George F. Dreher and Taylor H. Cox Jr., “Race, gender, and opportunity: A study of compensation attainment and the establishment of mentoring relationships,” Journal of Applied Psychology 81, no. 3 (1996): 297–308, http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-04951-007.
  2. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2017.