What would happen if all the powerful companies followed this and why does it matter?
As we grow up, we're taught that after graduating from college, we’re ready to start our professional life. We’re supposed to get a job that goes with the major we've chosen and that is (preferably) well-paid. When I finally graduated, I was waiting for amazing job offers to come at me. I even used to worry about having to make an informed decision that adjusted to my needs. Now, ask me how many offers I had: zero. Even when I tried hard to find something nearly close to what I liked, most of these jobs asked me to have years and years of experience. I strongly believe that the work environment we’re facing today has to evolve. It’s unbelievable how the majority of companies are still working with an outdated system while their working force is clearly another one. Fortunately, there are some companies that have understood the game and that are way ahead in the competition. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Generations have changed, and nowadays we millennials are the ones transforming not only the rules of the working schemes but also many social patterns we find outdated and not relatable to our reality. In that way, companies have to understand that the market has changed, as well as their consumers' interests. That's why they should see that to improve their products, they have to do the same with their processes and the people involved in them. We’re an innovative generation there’s no doubt about it, but are the working conditions giving us the right environment to develop our ideas? That’s probably what companies like Sephora have been wondering in the past years.
This is one of the few companies that bet on creativity and potential rather than experience. Not only that, Sephora is the first company to have a majority of female employees, and I’m not only talking about in-store staff. It’s more than evident that the makeup industry has grown impressively in the past years. It has always been a good market, but thanks to platforms like YouTube or Instagram, the popularity of these products has increased considerably (I mean, there’s literally a new innovative product advertised on the Internet every week). With that in mind, it’s obvious that those companies belonging to the industry have also become more powerful. Now, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if you take a look at the top companies in Silicon Valley, only 23 percent of the employees at tech positions are held by women. What does this mean?
It’s impressive that now that we’re all about gender equality, there are still many companies with a huge gender gap. For companies like Sephora that's inexcusable. We’re talking about companies that deal with innovative products for a new generation, and as a new generation, we understand that there’s no such thing as a superior gender or anything like that. The idea of men being better at technological areas was shattered a long time ago, so why are these companies still clinging to that business model? In Sephora, however, they're no longer looking for skillful and experienced people to fill these positions. On the contrary, the idea is to find profiles with a clear potential and a willingness to learn.
According to the article by John Simons in The Wall Street Journal, the main reason why there aren’t as many women in these important roles is linked to an inhospitable work culture we’re still following. More importantly, due to a lack of growing opportunities, those who manage to reach an important position eventually get bored of stop moving forward. Now, let’s go back a little bit to the Sephora case. After reading texts on the company, I read many comments of people claiming that it’s possible to have that scheme in companies like Sephora that are targeted to a female audience, which makes sense to a certain degree. However, I do think this goes way beyond that. There are tons of similar companies that still have a dominantly male staff. Even following that logic, it’s been proven that social media platforms are mostly consumed by women. So, why aren’t Facebook, Google, Instagram, or other social media working on that gender gap?
Then, this doesn't have to do with the company's target audience. Once again, I believe it’s a matter of outdated patterns. This is relevant because it’s clear that, despite all the movements and actions that have been made to fight for gender equality, there's still something holding us back. In my opinion many social patterns and behaviors are so rooted in our mindset that we're still following them. Just take a look at the many cases of sexual harassment and abuse that happen not only on the streets but in the workplace. It’s become a part of our reality, when that shouldn’t be the case. These are changes that have to be made from within in order to really make a change in a broader sense. What companies like Sephora are doing is, in my opinion, something all should follow.
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Images by @elirezkallah