CPH Career: Women are the untapped resource companies need

Gender equality in the office is understandably a common subject dealt with in columns like these.

In the USA for example, if you are a female it is virtually impossible to have a family and a career at the same time, since you are forced to come back to work barely two months after delivery. Some 99 percent of all companies consider maternity and paternity leave as a waste of time and resources. Women often have to sacrifice their career for the family, leaving them with a bitter taste of dissatisfaction and under-appreciation.

For those of you who already know that Denmark is a paradise in regards to balancing your work and home lives, there is an extra sweetness. The greatest difference between Denmark and countries like the US, where female leave is not approved, are:

Lengthy leave – having maternity leave for at least nine months, often a year, removes all feelings of guilt amongst employees, giving them a sense of fulfilment once they return to work (often when women in other countries are forced back to work, frustration and guilt take over as employees begin to doubt whether their efforts are worth it.

Win-win – replacing that person temporarily for a year opens the door for new employees and develops a new pool of talent for the company. For the employee on leave it instils a sense of security and reciprocates loyalty, and in return they are happy to come back to work.

Two for one – Spending resources to train a new employee is not a waste, since the new employee can be rotated into a different job. The same applies to the resources invested in the employee on leave, who is encouraged to return.

Benefits galore – in all of the above, contrary to the beliefs of US companies, the greatest benefit for the employer is that they don’t need to pay benefits or salary – it is all on the government – so their only requirement is keeping the work space open for their employee to eventually return.

There’s even a cherry on top for women of international origin. Every HR department is looking to cover diversity in Key Performance Indicators (KPI) based on background, education, gender and more. The great part about being a non-Danish female is that ‘you kill two birds with one stone’ in those KPI files!

So, focus on male-dominated industries with companies that are either already international or are looking become so. They will definitely be keeping a watchful eye out for highly-educated internationals, who also happen to be women.

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