Long before cell phones and video calls were the norm, Star Trek used communicators, tablets, and other devices. While the intent was to portray a universe many centuries in the future, the canon’s influence on modern technology took just a few decades.
There’s little doubt Star Trek was ahead of its time. And technology wasn’t the only advance. From its maiden voyage, men and women of all races and life forms have worked together on the Starfleet team. Their mission was space exploration, but a gender and culturally diverse workplace isn’t limited to a fictional universe. It exists in plenty right here on planet earth.
Gender diversity is vital to holding a competitive advantage and, ultimately, succeeding in a crowded workplace. But it goes beyond a company simply identifying itself as an equal opportunity employer. Women and men bring distinctly unique skills sets to the table in everything from decision making to problem solving. The most viable companies embrace these differences and offer professional fulfillment for both.
Even in industries like plumbing that have historically been male dominated, tremendous opportunities exist for women. The key is finding a company that recognizes women may find different long-term career attributes attractive and makes those specific things possible
It’s probably no surprise that work/life balance ranks high on everyone’s list. And there are companies that support employees in finding ways to strike the balance. Mobility and autonomy are two very effective examples. Mobility is evidenced by companies that provide digital devices to stay connected and the freedom to take care of tasks wherever and whenever. Flexibility is built into this way of doing business, since employees aren’t restricted by the clock or the calendar.
Also key to both genders is the importance a company places on innovation. I encourage job seekers to take note. Innovation goes beyond technology and product development. At first glance, wholesale distribution may seem old school, but I challenge you to take another look. As long as you bring a fresh perspective, your innovative thinking will directly impact the business.
I think the differences start here. Men seek more autonomous fundamentals like leadership and financial reward. They tend to view themselves as the primary driving force in their success. Women consider the corporate culture as a whole. They see a direct link between their accomplishments and the rest of the team. So they’re drawn towards companies that promote teamwork and mentoring.
According to a recent study conducted by Universum on the differences in career aspirations between men and women, job security also ranks high for female job seekers.
So what is my number one piece of advice? Do your due diligence in determining if the company will support your growth and development from day one. Raises and promotions will happen in time. Right now, be sure it’s a company that emphasizes working as a team, invests in training, and genuinely wants to help guide you on your career path.
Career development programs are an excellent place to start. In them, companies hire talented, entrepreneurial, motivated people and teach them the business at an accelerated pace, usually 2-5 years. Importantly, a company with vision will assess a person’s potential without requiring very specific buckets of experience. For example, a biology major might be hired to learn wholesale plumbing, or a veteran auditor could end up running a human resources department.
So take a page out of Star Trek and accept a mission to be bold and determined, and chart the course that matters most to you. The right company will embrace everything you have to offer. And then it can become your final frontier.
About the Author
Heather Wickenheiser recruits for Hajoca’s Management Development Program. Prior to joining Hajoca, Heather spent several years at Universum, a global expert in employer branding, studying the attributes that attract college graduates to work opportunities and using that research to connect employers with talent.