"We just aren't seeing women's CVs."
Hands up if you have heard this as a reason why there is a lack of female representation in certain firms and industries.
I know I certainly have, and while this does sound like a very tired line there is some research to support this.
According to the 2019 LinkedIn Gender Insights Report, women are 16% less likely to apply for a job after viewing it, and also tend to apply for 20% fewer jobs than men.
Furthermore, research has shown men will apply for a role when they meet up to 60% of the criteria or qualifications, while women tend to hesitate unless they meet 100% of the requirements.
There are many reasons why someone would not apply for a role. But when women actually put themselves forward for a position, they are 16% more likely to be offered the job.
But the dearth of women in senior roles suggests women are not in the running for 'stretch roles' - a win for the company who gets an extremely competent person in a mid-level role.
There are also some problems with recruiters and the recruitment process. The same report found that when looking at LinkedIn profiles, recruiters are 13% less likely to click on a woman's profile when she shows up in a search, and 3% less likely to send her an InMail about the job role.
This research does not cover the issue of where recruiters are looking in the first place - how can a company be sure they are casting the net wide instead of returning to the same hunting grounds?
This is compounded by the rate of women exiting the workforce - women are checking out before the senior roles are available.
Feedback we have received has ranged from not being given a clear understanding of a job path that would convince a woman to invest in the workplace, to not being able to make a job work due to external responsibilities.
At City Hive, we are committed to making the asset and investment management industry more balanced and helping to create working environments where individuals are rewarded on merit and talent.
A huge part of this lies in cultivating the female talent pipeline, which is why we have launched our new #applyapplyapply campaign to encourage more women to go for jobs and urge recruiters to actively seek out more female candidates.
There will always be excuses for the lack of female representation in certain industries and firms, in the same way we regularly see excuses made for issues such as the gender pay and pension gap.
Our challenge is to think of workable solutions that will really make a difference and encourage more women to put themselves forward for roles.
Bev Shah is CEO of City Hive