To better understand how companies can open the door wider to women in the C-Suite and take advantage of the diverse perspectives that women leaders bring, Weber Shandwick and KRC Research sponsored a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on a global study titled Gender Equality in the Executive Ranks: A Paradox — The Journey to 2030. Click here to read the full report.
So, what did we find out?
- 2030 is the year in which most large global companies will have approximately equal representation from men and women in their C-Suites, according to 73 percent of global senior business executives.
- Fifty-six percent of C-level executives work for companies that don’t have a formalized goal for achieving gender parity or don’t know if they do.
- Sixty-eight percent of women executives believe women’s contributions are undervalued by men. They express skepticism about the capacity of their organizations’ abilities to appreciate women’s capabilities to contribute at strategic levels.
We recommend that business leaders and their companies consider the following strategies to achieve greater gender equality:
- Follow the leaders. Metrics matter: It’s a good practice to find out which organizations have planted a stake in the ground on achieving gender diversity and begin modeling their habits.
- CEO champions are required: A CEO who supports senior level gender parity creates a cascading effect that builds commitment throughout the organization and isolates the naysayers.
- Value your talent: The war for talent is real and companies can no longer afford a gender brain drain if they are to be competitive.
- Ignore the media at your own risk: Traditional and social media are critical catalysts in hammering home the importance of societal issues, and can create a powerful chain reaction and nudge public opinion out from the margins and into the mainstream.
- Communicate, don’t equivocate: As the media continues to report on gender equality wins and losses at the upper rungs of business, companies should consider communicating on the strides they are making.
- Develop your women’s leadership visibility: Seeing female faces on the executive team web page can go a long way, whereas an image search that reveals primarily male faces at the executive level also sends a message. Visual influence plays a significant role in employer branding, so audit your company profile to determine how balanced you appear to candidates.
- Scorecards are arriving. Pursue honors of recognition and leverage them: Just as being a “best place to work” has emerged as a top priority for CEOs eager to attract and retain the best talent, companies should expect a similar surge in regard to gender diversity in the C-Suite. There will be fierce competition for these scorecards as the global economy improves and the war for talent extends to countries around the globe.
- Use storytelling to craft a compelling narrative: Organizations need to make a clear and compelling case about the advantages of aspiring to C-level roles.