The sectors trying to hire more women

In March, thousands of businesses and their employees celebrated International Women’s Day (8 March). IWD provides a fantastic opportunity each year to discuss the challenges facing women in many industries, and while glass ceilings continue to shatter, it’s important to continue the conversation and recognise areas where more work needs to be done. There are many sectors where women make up a large part of the workforce, but only occupy a small percentage of management or leadership roles.

These kinds of challenges can discourage women from applying for roles, even when they have the relevant skills and qualifications. At The People Pod, we know that recruitment means looking at the person behind the CV. Here, we’ll discuss three sectors where women are underrepresented, how things are changing, and the skills you need to succeed in these areas.


Women make up just 19% of sales leadership positions despite accounting for a much larger percentage of the overall workforce. However, research published in 2019 by Xactly showed that 86% of women met sales quotas compared to 78% of men - and the industry is seeking more women to enter senior sales roles and to bring their skills to the table.

One of the biggest challenges in recruiting more women to sales roles is the public perception of the job itself. For a long time, it was a heavily male-dominated sector and while this has changed over time, the change has been slow. Top down change - that is, hiring more women for senior roles and enabling them to make positive changes to team structure and workplace culture - seems like the most promising way forward.

If you’ve got good leadership skills and a proven track record in hitting targets, a sales opportunity might be right for you. If you are unsure of the role or a particular company, you can always ask about the work environment and company culture before making any decisions, or even speak to women who work at the company where you’re applying.

Digital (SEO and Tech)

As with sales, public perception of SEO (and related digital skills) can often put women off applying for executive roles. According to the State of SEO survey in 2020, less than one third of SEO executives identified as women (29.3%) compared to 68.4% who identified as men. This may be because technology is another historically male-dominated field where a push towards equality has been slow to arrive.

The number of women working in SEO, and related disciplines like pay-per-click advertising, has only grown slowly over the last few years. As more businesses recognise the importance of SEO to marketing their brand and building their online presence, we can already see a developing shortage of talented personnel, which means that there have never been more opportunities to start your career in this field.

If you are seeking a role with some flexibility, there is often quite a lot with these types of roles.You may find an opportunity where you can determine your own hours or benefit from flexi-time, and many businesses now enable remote or hybrid working. You can even learn the skills you need and gain relevant qualifications on a part-time or full-time basis over the internet, and your employer may offer access to this type of training through your job.


The retail industry is the only example on this list (and one of the only industries in the country) where women outnumber men. HR Magazine reports that 58% of retail employees identify as women, compared to 42% who identify as men. This includes a much higher percentage of part-time employees than in other industries, which is far more common among women than men.

So, while the retail sector is not facing the same challenges in hiring women, it is an industry in which there are always opportunities available. If you lost your job during the pandemic, or have been out of work and are now looking to return, now is the perfect time. The economy is recovering and retail spaces are getting back to normal. We don’t want to risk making any predictions, but the retail industry is beginning to rebuild itself and discover its new normal, which makes this an exciting time to start or take the next step in your career.

If you have the right skills and qualifications to work in any of these sectors and want to learn more about career opportunities or the types of roles that are available, click through to our profile to learn more about how The People Pod can help or take a look at our latest jobs.

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