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WOMEN AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

WOMEN AND RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

Introduction

Human Resource Development (HRD) at work is now a prominent and central part of Human Resource Management (HRM). This course is designed to provide a complete, integrated introduction to the process, practices and perspectives of this important area of people management. The process of HRD at work is an integral part of the overall performance management of organizations. Selected, representative and prominent practices in HRD at work are explored, using case studies to illustrate what this process involves in practice. Finally contemporary perspectives that should illuminate concerns, concepts, arguments and evidence are explored. The course is thus an ‘all in one’ view of processes, practices and perspectives. The common concerns about HRM are found amplified in the context of HRD, and performance in work and organizations. The promised ends are tantalizing: win–win outcomes for individuals, organizations and nations in the global economy – HRD for individuals to gain entry to work and occupations with career success, HRD for organizations to improve and enhance standards of performance and success, and HRD for nations to compete and prosper. These are the promised ends of HRD, and although achieving them can bring the greatest gratification, it also involves some of the greatest work that many individuals, organizations and nations will encounter.

A frustration that faces any author in this field is that the current nature of the subject exhibits a lack of ‘content stability’. Texts are out of date almost as soon as they are written, even before they are published, as new institutions, practices and initiatives bloom and old ones fade. Organizational practices evolve and change with bewildering frequency, government policy is subject to constant review, and even the apparently established content of learning theory is merely a thin crust. It can be difficult to even define a basic vocabulary and language for HRD that remains stable from one year to the next. This is a general problem with HRM, but it is acute in the field of HRD. The constructivist view of learning offers a way around this problem. Constructivism recognizes that human development requires more than just forcing people to attend training courses. It involves evoking a readiness to learn by animating people, connecting with their prior learning to allow new learning to be built up, and then providing new ideas and information. Concentrating on providing new information and ideas in themselves is not enough. Individuals who are not animated, and who cannot make connections with existing ideas, are as likely to ignore or misconstrue new ideas and information as they are to absorb them. In this respect the subject of HRD presents a real challenge. Learners come with a rich array of different backgrounds and ways of thinking about human development. It is a subject where many preconceived ideas will be present. Myths, taboos, things people learn from their families, friends, and past teachers will have all shaped their prior understanding, providing insecure foundations upon which to try to build anew. This is why learning must be based on the learners’ active participation in problem-solving and critical thinking, through activities that they find relevant and engaging. Only by testing ideas and approaches that challenge their prior knowledge and experience, and applying these to a new situation, can learners ‘construct’ sound new knowledge.

Nigeria, a country in West African sub-region is blessed with abundant natural and material resources. With an estimated current population of over nine hundred and twenty four thousand (924, 000) square kilometers, Nigeria is easily the most populous in African and one of the largest in terms of geographical area. About seventy percent of the population depend on agricultural activities for their livelihood and live in rural communities.

Currently, over forty million out of the total population of over one hundred million people live in urban area. Therefore, the rural area within the geographic entity of the country is whereby majority of the population is found.

Some of the government officials fear of the belief held that urban areas constitute the development potential of the state, the rural areas, have been neglected in terms of development opportunities.

Following the moribund attitudes that existed in the rural areas the rural dwellers are attracted to the urban areas to benefits from better paying jobs qualitative supply of basic amenities, highs level of commercial, recreational and industrial activities. Arising from the rapid. Urban population growth and physical expansion are very serious physical planning problem such as poor physical layout like Ajegunle, Gwagwa, Abakpa in Lagos, Abuja, Abakaliki and Enugu respectively. Also in the list include mass transit problem inadequate supply of housing, water and other basic social services.

Hence, it is expected that various governments policy maker rural dwellers, planning team and the general public should involve in harnessing the capture and build in preference of the rural dwellers at anytime. The advent of civilization brought about urbanization or urban settlement. Civilization is the climax of man’s inventions as a means of raising his standard of living. Man believes in hedonism and indeed obtains much pleasure in the company of other fellow men. No doubt, this is why if one had to give one word the raison d’être for a city it would surely be “communicated”. People come together in cities to be able to communicate person to person, person to firm person to government.

In the pre-history of urban evolution when technology was large and archaic, people had to search for fertile lands for abundant for harvest. These fertile lands occurred in Abakaliki division now in Ebonyi State. Settlements in these areas were promoted as a result of fertile land. The oldest organized settlement known today as the cradle of civilization such as settlement at alluvial plains of Rive Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, Indus and Yangtze – kiang were equally as a result of fertile land.

The discovering of limestone and the establishment of Cement Company at Nkalagu in Ishielu Local Government Area in 1957 attracted many investors and offered employment to the people. During this era there were considerable notice of immigrants in Nkalagu and its neighbouring communities. As a result of failure of the cement company to produce satellite town thereby extending its social amenities to the surrounding communities, the dwellers in the said communities like Nkalagu, Amazu, Umuahuli, Nkalaha, Obeagu started rushing to the urban areas in middle seventies. It is at this period that rural urban– migration gathered much momentum in the study area.

Generally, cities or urban areas apart from fertility of land discussed already started growing as a result of goods site for defense like Ibadan, mineral deposit such as in Enugu for Coal and Port Harcourt for crude oil, other include religious activities like Elele in Nigeria Jerusalem and Mecca. More recently, political tranquility influence of royal courts, holiday attraction and be artful sceneries as well as economic activities, coastal orientation mineral deposit and traffic junction are the prevailing factors for the growing of cities. The levels of standard of living which most of the cities or urban areas provide compel rural dwellers to more to urban areas and settle. It is in the light of rapid growth of urban over rural communities that form the bedrock of this study.

A set of systematic and planned activities designed by an organization or HR department to provide it’s an organization or HR department to provide its members with the necessary skills to meet current and members with the necessary skills to meet current and future job demands.

A discussion about sustainable development is not complete without a conversation on gender equality. Since women account for half of any country’s talent base, empowering their participation in the workforce greatly growth. On Reuters) In fact, World Bank studies show that development strategies focusing on gender equality see stronger economic growth than gender-neutral strategies. Throughout the world, women represent a substantial, underutilized force for sustainable development. In Asia, for example, women are responsible for 50% of agricultural output, while nearly 80% of the agricultural labor in Africa market is female. Unfortunately, many of these women lack access to necessary agricultural resources, which, if freely accessible, could decrease global hunger by 12-17%.

Extreme poverty presents a large obstacle, as women and girls comprise 70% of the 1.3 billion people living on less than a dollar per day.  Empowering women to take part in the workforce is not a simple problem to solve. For many women, there are physical and psychological consequences for entering the workplace – harassment, discrimination, violence and shame. Moreover, women across the globe still require investment in basic health and education. A crucial part of the solution is getting resources for these working women to access to these working women to access, allowing them to thrive in their economic environments so that they may, in turn, foster the success of local communities. However, the solution must fit both the lifestyles of women and their cultures. For example, in indigenous societies women are custodians of traditional knowledge relating to resource management; providing access to modern technology presents a perfect opportunity for both empowering local women and encouraging sustainable development.

The strategy for economic empowerment, according to the World Bank is twofold: (1) making the market work for women and (2) empowering women in the market. Supporting the economic empowerment of women is not just good company policy; it actually benefits the corporate world. Firms that employ women in leadership positions have better performance and higher profits. And, contrary to what might be believed, supporting female employment actually has a positive impact on family life and encourages women to have more children. Countries with family-oriented practices and government funded healthcare have both more working women and higher birth rates than those without gender equality policies, an important consideration for countries with aging populations.

Gender equality is not just a lofty aspiration anymore; it is the necessary missing link for sustainable development. Women, on average, reinvest up to 90% of income into their households. Reducing gender inequality gives women more money to spend on food, housing and education – crucial components for reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development. The corporate world increasingly realizes the importance of gender equality policies, with more firms looking for guidance on voluntarily reporting and improving their gender equality policies in the workplace, the supply chain and the community. The consensus is growing: getting more women into the workforce is the cure to many economic ills and imperative to sustainable development.

BASIC RESOURCE THEORY

This theory states that economic growth and development depends on the availability of natural resource in a region. This model holds that the development of these resources attract investment capital to these areas and bring about increase in income and employment. One of the limitations of the theory is that mere availability of basic resources is not enough for economic growth to occur in a region. There has to be appropriate technology and expertise to exploit these resources.

The relevance of this model in the study area n that the government should realized the need for education and man power training for a self – reliance and economic development. The dependence of imported machinery and equipment as well as the personnel to operate this equipment does not make for a self–reliance. This goes to show why in spite of abundant natural resources in the study area hunger and disease have continued to threaten the survival of the rural population. The prices of locally produced goods have remained higher than their imported counterparts.

ADDRESSING SKILLED LABOUR SHORTAGE

With forecasted skilled labour shortages in the province, labour markets are expected to tighten, placing strain on the available pool of qualified candidates. One strategy that has been identified by the Skills Task Force of Newfoundland and Labrador is to tap into under-represented populations, such as women, to offer solutions to the skilled labour shortage. This would broaden the pool of qualified and interested candidates. Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Outlook 2020 states that a proactive measure specifically those which “increase participation of women especially in nontraditional occupations‟ as necessary in ensuring the Province can meet its emerging labour demands.1 Since approximately half of our population is female, encouraging more women to work in the natural resource sector can be a solution to the skilled trades shortage.

Industrial employers have indicated that transitions for the inclusion of female labour are desirable but not happening as quickly or to the degree required for positive change.

Women comprise a very small portion of workers who work in skill trades. Female workers represent 5% of Apprentices (not including cooks and hairdressers) in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and only 1% of Journeypersons in Industrial Trades. 2 Petroleum Industry Human Resource Council (PIHRC) states that in the oil and gas industry there is a small share of women working in Trades Engineering Technology occupations and make up 8% of employees working in core occupations.

Industry often cites a lack of and limited pool of interested and qualified women as one of the main reasons for their continued under-representation in many non-traditional fields. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that women are encouraged to enter training programs and careers in these fields.

Diversity in the workplace creates a more humane work environment, and provides a broader range of skill sets, viewpoints and ideas for all employees. Many businesses and organizations have found that having a gender-diverse workforce leads to greater productivity, creativity and employee satisfaction overall. Employers have stated that female employees bring added value to the workplace, above and beyond the skills needed to do the jobs they were hired for. Employers identified benefits, such as productivity, creativity and employee satisfaction with women in the workplace. Other positive skills and abilities women bring include mediation, organization and facilitation.

Cost-benefit analysis of training and employing women in non-traditional trades and technology reveals that while there are costs associated with the implementation of workplace change, the benefits for instance, a larger talent pool and stronger financial performance also suggest that making gender-diversity a significant goal is well worth the investment.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Take a pro-active approach to increasing participation of female workers. When a shortfall of workers has been identified in a particular underrepresented occupation consider collaboration with a training institution to offer a training program for women to fill that shortfall. This was the case with Rio Tinto -IOC‟s mining technician program in Labrador west and Vale‟s Process Operator Training in Placentia. Additionally, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro hired a group of women and committed to their employment until they achieved their journeypersons status. WRDC could help to supply the women from the Orientation to Trades and Technology Program.
  2. Collaborate with government, labour, post-secondary institutions, and community organizations to encourage women to consider and enter training programs and subsequent careers in non-traditional fields related to the oil and gas industry.
  3. Support programs aimed at encouraging women to consider non-traditional careers through hands-on training at both the grade-school and post-secondary level.
  4. Inform women about the core competencies and project-specific skills that will be required at each phase of the project, and make this information publicly available to ensure that individuals and women in particular, obtain the necessary skills to be hired.
  5. Work with government to amend the journeyperson to apprenticeship ratio to require that at least one apprentice is an entry level woman. Currently the ratio is one journeyperson to two apprentices without such a stipulation.

SETTING TARGETS

Many companies tend to avoid utilizing gender equity-related quotas to ensure that they are not viewed as using reverse discrimination and that female employees are not viewed as being hired simply to meet a quota. It is important to set targets as well as quantifiable goals and objectives. These must be firmly implemented to effectively raise female participation rates and ensure a more gender-balanced workforce. There appears to be a gap between gender equity-related policies and the actual implementation of these policies. Therefore, it is important to have a strong committee in place that will not only monitor and report, but also enforce and ensure implementation. It is critically important to establish monitoring and accountability frameworks.

The Hebron Project has set quantifiable goals and objectives for female inclusion based on workforce availability according to Statistics Canada Census 2006 which indicates the availability of the designated groups by occupational category in the labour force. These statistics are five years old and do not reflect the current availability of graduates from our training institutions. It is paramount that revised figures which reflect the current availability in 2011 must be taken into consideration.

Targets will have to be set to guarantee successful integration of women on this project. It is imperative to set targets for female participation rate and set short-term numerical goals for the hiring and promotion of women in each occupational category where under-representation exists as well as setting longer-term numerical goals for increasing women’s representation, including a strategy for achieving set goals.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. WRDC suggests that the operator of the Hebron Project should set quantifiable targets as well as goals and objectives aimed at raising female participation in a timely manner by including a reasonable and progressive timeline for attaining goals, as well as supporting the achievement of these goals and adherence to the timeline through other initiatives. To ensure the successful implementation of the WEP, the proponents of the Hebron Project should appoint individuals to the official duty of enforcing and implementing the policies and initiatives outlined in the WEP.

RECRUITMENT OF FEMALE WORKERS

Many companies state that they do not take gender into consideration during the hiring process, but rather hire the „best candidate for the position.‟ The determination of who is the “best candidate” is heavily influenced by the number of years of experience of the candidate. In the hiring and resume review process it is important to recognize that statistically women are less likely to have as many years of experience in the oil and gas industry as men. This is due to the fact that it has been and remains a highly male-dominated sector. Therefore, if no gender-identifying information is taken into account during resume review, there will inevitably be more men than women that successfully pass through the screening process and ultimately get hired. This will affect companies‟ attempts to achieve their goals and objectives associated with raising women’s participation in the field.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. In order to raise female participation rates and to achieve a more gender-balanced workforce, when the proponents of the Hebron Project are faced with two equally qualified individuals of the opposite sex, they should give priority to the female candidate. Consider using the Human Rights “special program” Chapter H-14 article 19.1 to permit an employer to give an advantage to the groups that are traditionally disadvantaged in the hiring process.
  2. Identify alternative qualifying characteristics, aside from years of experience, to use as selection criteria in the hiring and promotion process. This increases the likelihood that women have an equal chance as men at getting hired and promoted. Consider transferable prior learning and volunteering skills.
  3. Women often have more demands on their time outside of the workplace than men. This means that it is important to provide clarity in job advertisements as to the amount of travel time instead of vague comments such as employees must be available for travel.
  4. During the interview process include women on the hiring team or interviewing committee. This conveys a message that women are welcomed and included in the organization.
  5. The proponents of the Hebron Project should establish a corporate culture that is free of gender-related biases, prejudices, and discrimination in relation to hiring and promotion, including ensuring that maternity/paternity and parental leave is not a consideration in either process.
  6. When screening applicants take training potential into consideration as well as the results of aptitude test. It is crucial that a woman not be penalized for a lack of hands-on experience in her childhood. It is important to remember that aptitude tests only indicate if a person has experience in demonstrating a particular skill. These tests do not necessarily reflect the applicant’s ability to learn that skill.

RETENTION OF FEMALE WORKERS

As important as it is to recruit more women into the workplace, it is equally challenging and important to retain those who are hired. From the standpoint of retaining female workers, it is necessary to recognize the importance of establishing a gender inclusive workplace environment and corporate culture. This involves a need for awareness on the part of employers and employees that, due to the long-standing male-dominated workforce in the oil and gas industry, there are various masculine norms and traditions ingrained in these fields. It also involves being mindful of the effects and consequences of gender-related biases, prejudices, and discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, it is important to counter the social isolation which can result from a lack of acceptance or inclusion from male co-workers and gender bias and discrimination.

There is a “culture” on industrial worksites that has been predominately and historically male-dominated. Culture is considered to be the assumptions, attitudes, roles and norms that shape an environment; these are often unwritten and unspoken, and most often are not communicated to women. Dominant values and attitudes influence decision making and clearly shape work culture. Since stereotypical attitudes about women in non-traditional occupations still exist, both men and women need to work together to create a fair and respectful work environment. The goal is to create a work environment that is supportive of women; where they are welcomed into non-traditional roles without being seen as a threat. It is important that women feel able to raise concerns without being seen as “complainers.”7 Also, it is critical to ensure there are not unfair expectations such as women having to work harder than men to prove their competence to employers and co-workers. A work environment where women are treated with respect and as equals to their male co-workers is the single biggest factor in retention.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. The proponents of the Hebron Project should include Creating A Respectful Work Environment(Gender Awareness in the Workplace training) in their orientation process for all new employees and in professional development seminars for existing employees to ensure a gender unbiased workplace.
  2. Review internal systems, hiring procedures, interviewing as well as determining if all employees are being informed of opportunities for training and advancement and lateral mobility.
  3. Offer career counseling by female counselors.
  4. Provide an opportunity for women who are interested in training to self- nominate
  5. Establish a culture of gender inclusivity by incorporating and adopting gender equity as part of the organization’s corporate strategy and business goals with gender awareness training offered to management, all staff and new hires.
  6. Mentorship programs are particularly effective in engaging and retaining employees from diverse groups. This includes:

 

  • Recruiting positive leaders;
  • Providing women with role models and mentors within the industry overall and on site, when possible;
  • Organizing a monthly mentoring session where women can meet informally over lunch or coffee;
  • Inviting a woman at a more senior level to talk about career progression;
  • Supporting women by actively seeking out a male or female employee who is understanding, supportive and positive towards women working in your company to help her in the orientation process.

CONTRACTORS AND SUBCONTRACTORS

WRDC recognizes that operators have committed to ensuring women’s participation in projects. It is also important that operators work closely with their subcontractors to ensure awareness of and compliance with the WEP. We commend EMCP for the development and distribution of a subcontractors‟ guide to further assist them in the implementation of the WEP.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. We recommend that EMCP include gender-equity provisions in its calls for bids and criteria for evaluating them. As well, implement accountability and reporting measures with a diligence to meeting the objectives. In recognizing that the success of the WEP is the overall responsibility of EMCP the company needs to work diligently to support its contractors and subcontractors in meeting their women’s employment plan goals and requirements.

 

PARTNERING WITH LABOUR ORGANIZATIONS

WRDC is consistently advised by industry that although employers may make the recommendation to hire more women, they state that ultimately unions make the decisions and dispatch the workers. While acknowledging that there are still barriers to female inclusion, however, they state that they cannot interfere with the union’s selection process.

Women often face difficulty in obtaining trade union memberships as they are not part of the sponsor network and have difficulty logging enough hours of training and work experience to complete apprenticeships. This is a major stumbling block in women’s access to job opportunities, as it limits the possibility to log hours and advance through the apprenticeship process.

Working in collaboration with unions will be essential in effectively implementing the WEP. The Hebron Project needs to commit to working with labour unions to ensure women have fair and equal access to employment opportunities on site. This will involve exploring and implementing progressive initiatives to remove barriers to women‟s access to employment opportunities, including exploration of potential female name hires as a measure to address the barriers that union seniority lists can create for women. It will also involve maintaining regular contact with labour unions to exchange information and ideas, as well as inviting them to attend and participate in annual stakeholder meetings for review and feedback on the progress of the WEP.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. We recommend incorporating into collective agreements mechanisms to allow women entry into unions and consider incorporate a special measures clause to allow women access to job opportunities-for example consider utilizing the name hire option.
  2. We recommend negotiating with labour a new component in the hiring process that will increase women‟s employment. For example when selecting from the out of work list, utilize a three to one ratio. This means selecting 3 men and then one woman from the list. This would help level the playing field.

CONCLUSION

It is expected that the Hebron project will leave a lasting legacy for the people of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. WRDC is open to and interested in collaborating with the proponents of the Hebron Project in terms of the services, programs and expertise that we offer. We wish to move forward together to help make the Hebron Project a leader in gender equity. WRDC recognizes that there are certainly challenges however there are always solutions. We look forward to cooperating with EMCP as the project progresses to help with working through the barriers and seeking the solutions.

Thank you for the opportunity of presenting our views and perspectives as it relates to the successful integration of women in the Hebron project.

REFERENCES

Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R. (eds) (2001) A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Longman. Halpern, D.F. (2002) Thinking Critically about Thinking Critically, 4th edn. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Paolo Magrassi (2002) “A Taxonomy of Intellectual Capital”, Research Note COM-17-1985, Gartner

 

Sveiby, Karl Erik (1997). “The Intangible Asset Monitor”. Journal of Human Resource Casting and Accounting 2 (1).

 

Gio Wiederhold (2013) Valuing Intellectual Capital, Multinationals and Taxhavens; Management for Professionals, Springer Verlag.

 

Khavandkar , Jalil & Khavandkar , Ehsan . (2009), “Intellectual Capital: Managing, Development and Measurement Models”. Iran Ministry of Science, Research and Technology Press.

 

Maddocks, J. & Beaney, M. 2002. See the invisible and intangible. Knowledge Management, March, 16-17.

 

Edvinsson, L. & Malone, M.S. 1997. Intellectual Capital: Realizing your Company’s True Value by Finding Its Hidden Roots. New York: Harper Business.

 

Skyrme, D.J. 1998. Valuing Knowledge: Is it Worth it?

 

Brooking, A. (1996) Intellectual Capital, Core Assets for the Third Millennium Enterprise, International Thomson Business Press, London, pp.86.

 

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