This award recognises the company's many initiatives at deepening gender equality as Clare Corkish, Vodafone's UK Director of Human Resources explains.
I am pleased to say that Vodafone has been recognised as one of this year’s Top 50 Employers for Women by The Times. While it’s always gratifying to see Vodafone’s efforts recognised by others, what’s more important is that this shows we’re on the right track when it comes to attracting talented women to work with us and supporting them so they can fulfil their potential.
Our ambition is backed by a target. Vodafone wants 45% of its senior leadership to be women by 2030, having hit 30% ahead of schedule back in 2020. To reach this goal, Vodafone has several initiatives in place to attract, retain and engage women at every stage of their working lives.
It begins not with recruitment, but in the run-up to it. For technology-focused roles where women have traditionally been underrepresented, we have work experience and apprenticeship programmes in place to inspire and ignite the imaginations of girls and young women who have yet to begin their careers, and to develop their skills once they have. After all, the leaders of tomorrow aren’t born but made in the classrooms, lecture halls and workshops of today.
It’s also important that we support women who are re-entering the workforce after a career break. Many have lost confidence in their own abilities and skills. So our ReConnect programme helps them restart their working lives at Vodafone with the mentoring, flexible working and support they need. Their precious skills, insights and experiences are vital to us and shouldn’t be overlooked just because they took some years off to raise a family.
Once women are at Vodafone, they can benefit from mentorship, as well as receive support from internal women’s networks. Depending on their role, like everyone else at the company as we emerge from the pandemic, they may be able to work flexibly or entirely from home. If they have parental or caring responsibilities, such flexibility can help them better balance their work and personal lives.
Our commitment doesn’t stop as women go through life events, such as becoming a parent. To support them, as well as any non-birthing staff member who becomes a parent, Vodafone provides 16 weeks of fully paid leave. When parents are ready to return to work, they benefit from a 30-hour week at full pay for their first six months. To do less would risk losing valuable talent.
When it comes to more difficult and challenging life events – premature birth, domestic abuse, menopause, or caring for sick and elderly relatives – women shouldn’t have to face these difficulties alone. Vodafone is there with support and policies to assist them. It’s the compassionate, responsible thing to do.
I am proud that The Times has recognised Vodafone as one of the Top 50 Employers for Women. But I’m even prouder of how everyone at Vodafone continually strives to enrich our teams with diverse talent and keeps inclusion for all at the very heart of our purpose.