Gender inequality remains a challenge in many workplaces. Managers, irrespective of gender, are twice as likely to hire a man compared to a woman . As a consequence, women remain largely underrepresented in the workplace. This is especially so in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with women comprising only 16% of Australia’s STEM employees . The result is economic and social inequality between men and women. Equitable performance and hiring systems are critical in reducing the gender disparity in workplaces and leadership roles.
How do hiring and promotion work?
Organizational recruitment  refers to the process of attracting competent and interested individuals from the external job market to fill a vacancy. Throughout the recruitment process there are many factors that affect applicants’ organizational attractiveness and their probability of accepting a job offer. Prior research  has shown factors in recruitment vary in their impact on applicant progress at different stages of recruitment. During early stages, such as the initial interview, the following factors were significantly associated with applicant reactions:
demographic characteristics e.g., recruiter age, educational degree, recruiting experience, job type;
interview characteristics e.g., degree of interview structure, tendency to tell applicants how they were evaluated;
applicants’ perceptions of recruiter empathy.
During later stages of the recruitment process, job attributes (e.g., job location, salary, title) were more important in understanding applicant reactions.
Job performance  refers to the expected organizational value of an employee. This plays an important role in defining the company’s success. Cooperative, hard-working and dependable employees are more effective in their work, which positively affects organizational performance.
How are hiring and promotion decisions gender-biased?
Gender inequality is an issue for both hiring and promotion decisions. Prior research has shown that women are less frequently employed in jobs that offer promotion possibilities . This is especially the case after taking parental leave; although high-achieving men and women share similar levels of ambition in the workplace and at home, it is women who are more likely to be rerouted into roles that are seen as more “family-friendly”, but are also less challenging and offer less opportunities for career growth and promotion .
Succession planning and leadership development
Succession planning  and Leadership development  are two fundamental processes for assessing and developing the leadership talent of an organization . To ensure success in this area, organisations must consider the following key aspects :
Measure and monitor regular progress, focusing on rapid, radical, and continuous change
Increase complex challenges
Recruit and retain the best talent and identify linchpin positions (i.e., those jobs that are important to the long-term health of the organization)
Be flexible and transparent
However, there are various obstacles that often get in the way of successful succession planning, such as:
Over-embedding the initiative within a single champion
Companies often have a “champion” who is the driver for success. This can cause disruptions if that person derails the initiative or leaves the organisation without an appropriate successor.
Not connecting development with strategic business imperatives
Don’t try to develop just for development’s sake. Identify what specifically needs to be developed and why.
Under-emphasizing the personal accountability
There should be personal accountability and follow-up. Ensuring that accountability and follow ups are part of the process leads to learning and development becoming a continuous, intentional processes.
Lack of adequate support for development
Individual development requires all sorts of resources, such as positive reinforcement. Returning to a supportive environment ensures that positive development is further encouraged and implemented.
Strategies for making hiring processes more inclusive
The Universities Australia Executive Women (UAEW) group and Jo Fisher, managing director of Fisher Leadership, developed a set of recruitment guidelines to ensure gender diversity in the workforce . These guidelines are categorised along four broad recruitment stages: