Women Representation in Professional and Managerial Ranks Globally to Reach only 40% by 2025

January 29, 20168:35 am1096 views

Women are under-represented in the workforce globally, and if organizations maintain the current rate of progress, women representation will reach only 40% globally in the professional and managerial ranks in 2025, according to Mercer’s second annual When Women Thrive global report.

Among the key trends revealed in the report is that women’s representation within organizations declines as career levels rise – from support staff through the executive level.

“The traditional methods of advancing women aren’t moving the needle, and under-representation of women around the world has become an economic and social travesty,” said Pat Milligan, Mercer’s Global Leader of When Women Thrive. “While leaders have been focusing on women at the top, they’re largely ignoring the female talent pipelines so critical to maintaining progress.”Mercer_when woman thrive_Fig 1“This is a call-to-action – every organization has a choice to stay with the status quo or drive their growth, communities and economies through the power of women.”

Mercer’s report finds that although women are 1.5 times more likely than men to be hired at the executive level, they are also leaving organizations from the highest rank at 1.3 times the rate of men, undermining gains at the top.

According to the When Women Thrive report, women make up 40% of the average company’s workforce. Globally, they represent 33% of managers, 26% of senior managers, and 20% of executives.

In terms of regional rankings, Latin America is projected to increase women’s representation from 36% in 2015 to 49% in 2025; followed by Australia/New Zealand moving from 35% to 40%; US/Canada improving by just 1% from 39% to 40%; Europe remaining flat at 37% in 2015 and 2025; and Asia ranking last at 28%, up from just 25% in 2015.Mercer_when woman thrive_Fig 2

“In 10 years, organizations won’t even be close to gender equality in most regions of the world,” said Milligan. “If CEOs want to drive their growth tomorrow through diversity, they need to take action today.”

See: How Can HR Managers Promote Women Leadership in an Organisation?

The research – the most comprehensive of its kind featuring input from nearly 600 organizations around the world, employing 3.2 million people, including 1.3 million women – identifies a host of key drivers known to improve Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) efforts.

“It’s not enough to create a band-aid program,” said Brian Levine, Mercer’s Innovation Leader, Global Workforce Analytics. “Most companies aren’t focused on the complete talent pipeline nor are they focused on the supporting practices and cultural change critical to ensure that women will be successful in their organizations.”

Only 9% of organizations surveyed globally offer women-focused retirement and savings programs with the US/Canada ranking first (14%), despite Mercer’s research proving that such efforts lead to greater representation of women.Mercer_when woman thrive_Fig 3

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Only 57% of organizations claim senior leaders are engaged in diversity and inclusion initiatives with US/Canada ranking first.
  • Latin America ranks first for engagement of middle managers with 51% vs. 39%, globally.
  • Involvement of men has dropped since the first report in 2014, when 49% of organizations said they are engaged in D&I efforts vs. 38% in 2015; US/Canada rank first for involvement of men at 43%.
  • Only 29% of organizations review performance ratings by gender with Australia/New Zealand ranking first.
  • US/Canada lead on pay equity, with 40% of organizations offering formal pay equity remediation processes, compared to 34% globally, 25% in Asia, and 28% in Europe; but virtually no improvements have been made since 2014.
  • 28% of women hold P&L (profit and loss) roles with Latin America ranking first (47%), followed by Asia (27%), Australia/New Zealand (25%), US/Canada (22%), and Europe (17%).
  • Women are perceived to have unique skills needed in today’s market, including: flexibility and adaptability (39% vs. 20% who say men have those strengths); inclusive team management (43% vs. 20%); and emotional intelligence (24% vs. 5%)
  • US/Canada rank first in providing training to support employees through parental leave as well in offering customized retirement and savings programs by gender.
  • About half of organizations in three key regions – Asia, US/Canada and Latin America – agree that supporting women’s health is important to attract and retain women, yet only 22% conduct analyses to identify gender-specific health needs in the workforce.

According to the research, at the managerial level it’s not skills gap but a recognition gap that exists to promote women leadership. Only companies that embrace the strengths, men and women bring to their roles are better positioned to make most of their talent overall.

Also read: AccorHotels Answers: Challenges to Women Leadership in the Hospitality Industry in APAC

Image credit: edelman.com

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