On this special International Business Women’s Day, our Women in Business Report 2019 again unveils the latest results. This year marks a shift in our reporting on gender diversity in senior management, revealing the highest recorded proportion of women in senior management globally at 29% – an increase of five percentage points over the last year, suggesting a more active, targeted approach to improving the situation.
“To survive and thrive in today’s complex global environment, organisations must drive culture change, embracing innovation and inclusion. Diversity is fundamental to the future-fit business.” Peter Bodin, global CEO, Grant Thornton International Ltd.
Regional snapshorts - Eastern Europe leads the way
Some regions are doing better than others and there are lessons to be learned from them: Eastern Europe has the highest percentage of women in top roles, with 32% of senior management in the region made up of females, compared with Latin America, the worst performing at just 25%.
With the exception of North America, which has breached the 30% mark, the middle-placed regions all sit just below the global average for the proportion of women in senior management, at 28%.
Those behind the curve were Southern Europe and Latin America which both face cultural barriers to the promotion of women within businesses. Our research shows that caregiving is a major issue for women in the regions, with 24% of female managers citing it as a hurdle to progression.
Barriers to progress - women face more difficulties winning a promotion
Our research questioned those who have already made the leap into senior management roles about any barriers they had found it necessary to overcome on their road to promotion. The biggest barrier for both men and women had been the difficulty of finding time to improve their employment skills alongside core job responsibilities, with men identifying this as an issue more frequently than women.
In four of the seven main categories highlighted, women were more likely to say they had faced some barrier, and faced more barriers overall.
Positive actions - 75% of businesses are taking deliberate action
When businesses understand their own position on the gender parity scale, and how men and women move through their promotion pipeline, they are in a position to take specific, appropriate action.
Our reporting shows that, in line with the positive overall progress recorded, 75% of businesses are taking deliberate action to improve gender diversity from eight aspects. Among those measures, ensuring equal access to developmental work opportunities and creating an inclusive culture gained the highest percentage of 34% and 31% respectively.
Join us to design the blueprint for action
At Grant Thornton, our years of reporting on women in business, our experience as a global network of firms, and our own efforts to achieve gender balance at executive level have shown us that progress comes through deliberate action in targeted areas.
Innovation performance only increased significantly when more than 20% of management positions were held by women.
It is becoming increasingly important for business to recruite more female talents and open up development opportunities to keep talents moving up, creating inclusive business culture. Data analysis will help you recognize where you stand right now and design your blueprint for action.
By committing to these actions, all businesses can drive positive change. We believe the power to create change lies within all of us, and we invite you to join the conversation on how to design a business culture that supports true gender diversity.
Welcome to write to us at China@cn.gt.com and we look forward for a valuable conversation.