International Women’s Day (IWD), marked annually on March 8, is a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme is “#EmbraceEquity.” As the IWD website explains, “Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.”

Research from Robert Half helps to underscore the importance of focusing on gender equity in the workplace:

  • 74% of working women want their salary to increase by the end of 2023 — and higher pay is the main reason women professionals are considering a job change.

  • Status is an important factor — 32% of working women surveyed said they want a promotion this year.

  • One third of working women seek greater flexibility in choosing where and when they work.

Robert Half and global consulting firm Protiviti, a Robert Half subsidiary, will explore this year’s IWD theme through special events and activities held throughout the month of March — which is also Women’s History Month. We will also evaluate our ongoing work to promote diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout our enterprise, and foster a company culture where all people can connect, thrive and grow.

Here are just some of the ways we are continuing to make progress toward our DEI objectives:

Leadership opportunities for women at Robert Half

Women represent more than half of Robert Half’s global workforce, and they hold nearly half of the management and leadership positions at our organization, according to Robert Half’s latest environmental, social and governance ESG report.

Koula Vasilopoulos, Senior Managing Director for Western Canada and the greater Toronto area, is a perfect example of such leadership. When asked to reflect on her 25-year career at Robert Half and describe the qualities of a great leader, she had this to share. 

‘Great leaders need to be authentic, inspiring, transparent, have integrity, and possess the ability to empower others- in my opinion, many of the characteristics of servant leadership. Ensuring women are heard, celebrating their accomplishments, and encouraging them to follow their dreams and purpose is paramount.
I have experienced all of these in my 25-year career with Robert Half, and I believe I have been able to thrive and grow because of that. To further support other women, I feel strongly that mentoring and sponsoring women in the workplace can be exceptionally effective and can facilitate leadership skills development, help women gain confidence, and build an amazing network.’

Among other prominent women leaders, we would be remiss not to mention Dawn Fay, a 26-year veteran of Robert Half who was recently named operational president, overseeing operations for professional talent solutions. She is also involved in Robert Half’s United Program for mentorship and helped to launch the Global Women’s Employee Network (GWEN), an Employee Network Group (ENG) at Robert Half described in the next section.

Employee-led ways to unify the workforce

Employee Network Groups (ENGs) at Robert Half and Protiviti help to build a dynamic and inclusive environment where people feel comfortable being themselves at work.These organically created, employee-led support systems also increase cross-company collaboration and amplify exposure to DEI topics on a global level.

One ENG, in particular, is focused on helping us to close the gender gap at Robert Half is GWEN, founded in March 2021. GWEN, which has more than 800 members, has a mission to champion and amplify women’s perspectives while creating networks, community and growth opportunities for women.

At Protiviti, the Initiative for Growth and Retention of Women at Work (iGROWW) is an ENG that aims to increase female representation and retention and develop a support system for women in the workplace. Another group, Gender Equality in Technology (GET IT), focuses on bringing the values and goals of iGROWW to technologists across Protiviti and helping to increase gender diversity in the technology profession.

Commitments and accolades

Following are some other recent actions and achievements that help to underscore Robert Half’s global commitment to promoting gender equality and DEI in our organization — and beyond:

  • Just this week (March 2023), Robert Half was named one of Canada’s Best Workplaces™ for Women by Great Place to Work®.

  • In 2023, for the fifth consecutive year, Robert Half was selected for the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

  • In 2022, Forbes named Robert Half as one of the Best Employers for Women, an accolade our company has received every year since 2019.

  • In 2022, Robert Half and Protiviti were both named to the highly competitive FORTUNE Best Workplaces for Women™ list.

  • Also, in 2022, Forbes elected Robert Half as one of the Best Employers for Diversity for the fourth consecutive year.

  • Forbes also named our company to the World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies list in 2022.

Since 2019, Robert Half has been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of the UNGC and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The seven WEPs build on the UNGC by providing best practices for advancing gender equality and empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Additionally, Robert Half’s senior leadership signed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge in 2020 committing to support diversity in the workplace and our communities. That same year, in the spirit of that pledge, we amended our Corporate Governance Guidelines (available here) to bring more diversity into our board and CEO succession plans.

Robert Half and Protiviti also support the promotion, growth and development of small and/or minority-, woman-, veteran-, disabled veteran- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses and business owners with apparent and non-apparent disabilities through our Supplier Inclusion Initiative. This enterprise wide program has earned recognition from many organizations and publications over the past two decades, including the WBENC, Professional Woman’s Magazine and Women’s Enterprise USA Magazine.

*Robert Half’s Leading with Integrity report showcases our ESG activities across the enterprise and their impact on our business and our stakeholders. Download the report here.

Learn more about International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day has been observed for more than a century. See this timeline on the IWD website to learn more about the history of this day.