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Gender Commission Report: Recommendation 1

Recommendations for employers

Recommendation 1: Inclusive workplace

Apprenticeship employers should work proactively to ensure they have the right culture and conditions in place to create opportunities and give confidence to employees of all genders and backgrounds. Only then will apprentices, and all employees, view them as places where they want to work.

The Gender Commission recommends employers use the Think Business, Think Equality self-assessment tool5, developed by Close the Gap, an expert not-for-profit organisation working on women’s participation in the labour market in Scotland. The tool includes practical suggestions for business organisations, public agencies and industry groups to assist SMEs, and to help them engage in the opportunities available to support this important topic. Industry engagement organisations are encouraged to prioritise this.


The self-assessment tool will help employers with:

  • Practices which support policy development, including leadership at all levels, flexible hours, blended work practices, facilities, equipment, mentoring and engagement groups.

  • Specific focus on inclusive recruitment practices and the important impact these can have. What needs to be done thereafter around retention/talent management/career development.

  • Evaluation of HR and management practices at every stage of employment to ensure opportunity on the basis of merit. Identification of unintended bias and barriers that limit equality of access and progression.

  • Offering flexibility in contractual terms within security of employment.

  • Offering training with flexible schedules, acknowledging care responsibilities and encouraging uptake by women. Respect for family life and the need for work-life balance.

  • Speaking to an existing workforce to identify structural, procedural and cultural barriers that may reinforce occupational segregation.