Meetings and events agency Zibrant has been listed in ‘The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2012’. The list features UK organisations that are leading the way in gender equality in the workplace and is managed and judged by diversity experts within Opportunity Now, the gender campaign from Business in the Community.
With Fay Sharpe as Joint MD, Zibrant’s staff is 77 per cent female, and 70 per cent of senior leaders are women who have worked their way up from entry level positions. A recent drive to develop internal talent increased female representation on the board of directors with four new women directors, all of whom are working mothers. Last year Fay Sharpe was the first woman to be awarded number one position in a ‘Power 50’ listing of most influential meetings industry figures.
“Events is frequently noted as an attractive career choice for women, and I am overjoyed that Zibrant has been recognised in this prestigious listing. We work very hard to ensure an equal, flexible and supportive working environment for women of all ages, to encourage young women to join the meetings industry through career advice and work experience placements, and to actively promote women in business through networking and speaking opportunities such as WE Connect and at industry events.
“Recent developments include: our ‘Family Fit’ programme which celebrates maternity through a range of initiatives and benefits, and which also allows for male employees to work flexibly to support the women in their lives; an IT team now led by a woman for the first time in line with our policy that women should be positively encouraged and rewarded with key decision-making roles and following a recruitment campaign that emphasised the importance of leadership and customer service within the role, as well as technical ability; and an industry first ‘family fun day’ which encouraged our clients to bring their families to a networking event.”
Sharpe says the inclusive practices extend to women of all ages and that if staff want to move away from the events frontline, Zibrant tries to accommodate the change in their needs to retain their expertise.
“Staff often join at a time where their lives are flexible but there follows the desire for external development, travel and family life. Our female workforce has an increasing number of ‘returners’ after career breaks,” she adds.
“While on maternity leave, staff bring the children to work for visits. We enjoy meeting them and keep in touch encouraging them to return to work after leave. A supportive environment is maintained, so there is no guilt in attending a school play, working at home if a child is ill or leaving early to pick a child up from school.”
Sharpe concludes, ‘Gender equality is the way forward for successful businesses. Gone are the days when it was considered proper for men to dominate the boardroom, and this is an exciting time as businesses learn to flourish with greater female input.”
Helen Wells, Director of Opportunity Now, says: “Any organisation included in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list has to be commended for its commitment to actively recruiting, retaining and progressing female talent. “It is a clear statement that senior leaders see this as a commercial imperative, not a women’s issue.”
Do you have news for CN? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org