Learning & Development, Talent

How to Avoid a Gender Gap in Your Training Programs

According to results from a recent survey, men reported greater access to training for technical skills and soft skills compared to women, making them more likely to participate in those training programs. And therefore, they’re also more likely to wind up in leadership roles and more desirable roles overall, leading to a gender gap in training programs for multiple organizations, as well as a gender gap in organizational leadership overall.


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Here are some things you can do to avoid a gender gap in your organization’s training programs.

Be Careful to Promote All Training Programs to Everyone

When promoting your training programs, be careful to use language that includes both women and men or that is gender neutral. Don’t emphasize predominantly male or female characteristics or work histories. Don’t assume, for instance, that all women will be great at communications and emotional intelligence and men will only be good at strategic decision-making, etc.
Additionally, be sure to promote all training programs to all employees across your organization to garner interest. And make sure that managers are talking to every one of their eligible employees about your training programs, regardless of those employees’ gender.

Offer More Remote Training Opportunities

While some strides are being made, currently, more women than men are still expected to handle domestic duties and childcare duties, which means that they can’t always attend training programs that occur in different locations that require travel, that occur after regular work hours, or that occur over some weekends.
So, keep in mind that many of your employees will need access to remote training opportunities if they’re going to participate in your programs, such as virtual classrooms, remote e-learning courses, etc. Or, they will need to attend training programs or finish their training requirements while they’re at work.

Conduct Pretraining Assessments

Did you know that men will apply for a job when they believe they only have 60% of the qualifications listed in a job description, whereas women will likely only apply for something when they believe they are 100% qualified?
Therefore, if any of your training programs require a vetting or application process (i.e., your leadership programs), conduct pretraining assessments to identify who is actually prepared and qualified to take your programs and who is not.
And conduct pretraining assessments for those training programs that are more advanced and require some type of already acquired and verifiable skill (i.e., coding, project management, etc.).

Use Data to Evaluate Employee Performance and Interest

Use objective organizational data and data provided by employees to evaluate which employees are the most eligible for certain training programs.
For instance, if you have a training program available for a new manager in your operations department, see which employees already own the skills required of efficient operations managers on an everyday basis via their work performance data (i.e., highly organized, adept at processes, etc.) and who have already expressed an interest in managing an operations team.
Such data will tell you if an employee owns the skills, aptitude, and interest required for certain training programs.
Follow the tips and best practices above if you want to avoid a gender gap in your training programs.