Some women choosing to put degree aspirations on hold
Barriers to pursuing a degree are mounting as the weight of the pandemic drags on — especially for women. If you’ve noticed fewer female prospects in your funnel, it’s not an illusion. While cost remains a factor, women are finding it harder to get on board with online learning. They’re worried about job loss, and they miss the invaluable in-person networking of the past. Additionally, time is a commodity as many are disproportionally shouldering the burden of childcare and remote school for their kids. As a result, some women are choosing to put their degree aspirations on hold.
A recent article in Financial Times reported many women are shying away from MBAs right now. The progress in evening out the gender divide in business schools has stalled. Although you can’t necessarily remove all of these challenges for your female prospects, you can communicate with them in different ways to re-spark their interest, instill confidence and keep them engaged in the admissions process.
Develop new personas
When you create personas for marketing purposes, you do a deep dive into what your audience is thinking so you can address the barriers to their decision making process. Although you may have already developed personas for female prospects, you may consider revisiting them or creating some new ones. People you are talking to today may be the same demographically, but have a different mindset from a year ago.
Interview some current students to get their perspective. Do your research on what women are managing right now. However you approach it, just be sure to address their challenges head-on and focus on the solutions they’re seeking.
Make admissions more personal
Since the past year may have completely altered your female prospects’ working environments, personal lives and career aspirations, it’s even more important for recruiters to personally connect. Giving women the opportunity to tell their story during the admissions process will make them feel validated. Finding convenient times for phone calls, video chats and texting will showcase your program’s flexibility. And focusing on how you can help them set and achieve new goals will go a long way in building their trust and confidence.
You may also want to emphasize the peer support they will receive in the program with fellow students who are going through the same challenges. Knowing they’re not alone in their struggles may help them feel more encouraged to tackle a degree versus putting it on hold until things even out.
Your female prospects have always been driven, intelligent and powerful. And now, they’re even more adept at identifying authenticity. In a year where relationships have been tested in both work and personal lives, women have become astute at evaluating risky situations and unapologetically doing what is best for them regardless of social norms or expectations.
Craft your communications carefully – what you say will carry more weight now than ever before. Be transparent – tell the truth about time commitments, cost, benefits and outcomes. Be empathetic – show you care about their challenges and struggles and you are ready to support them.
Employ some minor shifts in your marketing and recruiting strategies to help female prospects feel more comfortable pursuing a degree.
If you need more ideas on crafting communications strategies or personas to address the changing landscape of the prospect field, contact GPRS today. We can help you develop a plan to maintain a balance within your funnel. Let’s start the conversation today.