the importance of gender balance in the workplace
A gender-balanced workforce adds tremendous value to a business’s bottom line. Companies with more women in management positions experience lower market volatility and increased productivity. C-suites with greater gender parity have higher profitability and return on equity while companies with more diverse and gender-balanced boards generate higher market returns.
Despite these and other benefits, a gender-balanced workforce is not the norm today. Women are underrepresented at every level of an organization and for every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted.
Gender balance is most pronounced in STEM fields where 50% of women exit their field and move to non-STEM occupations within the first 12 years of their career. With less than 30% of women graduating into STEM fields, the pressure for companies to find professional women to achieve gender balance is even more acute.
The good news is that 78% of large organizations are actively seeking to hire more women, especially into more experienced and senior positions. At the same time, women are more empowered to ask for flexible work arrangements, better work-life balance and a clear understanding of how women are supported and advanced within an organization. 61% of women look at the diversity of an employer’s leadership team when making career decisions.
Organizations that respond to the call for gender balance by innovating the way they recruit, employ and advance women at all stages of the corporate pipeline will radically influence our economy, our society and the future of work in America.
Sources: PWC Winning the Fight for Female Talent, March 2017; Women in the Workplace 2016, McKinsey & Co. World Economic Forum, Women and Work 2016; Global Gender Gap, World Economic Forum 2016; FactSet, ASSET4, Morgan Stanley Research; Gallup State of American Manager; Peterson Institute Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey; The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management.
“Gender diversity can improve team decision making and improve innovation capabilities for development of new products or services. It can also create alignment with diverse customer bases and, thus, open untapped business opportunities.”
— Jessica Alsford, Head of SRI Research
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