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Women are under-represented in the workforce globally, and if organisations maintain the current rate of progress, female representation in the professional and managerial ranks will reach only 40% globally by 2025, according to a global report.
Mercer’s second annual When Women Thrive report shows that women’s representation within organisations declines as career levels rise – from support staff through the executive level. It says that, although women make up 40% of the average company’s professional workforce globally, they represent 33% of managers, 26% of senior managers and 20% of executives.
The report adds that, although women are 1.5 times more likely than men to be hired at the executive level, they are also leaving organisations from the highest rank at 1.3 times the rate of men, undermining gains at the top.
In terms of regional rankings, Latin America is projected to increase women’s representation at professional levels 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.
“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.
“This is a call-to-action – every organisation has a choice to stay with the status quo or drive their growth, communities and economies through the power of women.”
“In 10 years, organisations won’t even be close to gender equality in most regions of the world,” she adds. “If CEOs want to drive their growth tomorrow through diversity, they need to take action today.”
The research, which features input from nearly 600 organisations 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 programme,” 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 organisations.”
Other key findings of the survey include: