One step forward, one step back
Grant Thornton has been investigating the progress of women in business around the globe for 14 years, exploring how business leaders think and feel, and outlining practical steps that can create change.
It’s recently published report, Women in business: beyond policy to progress finds global businesses have taken one step forward and one step back when it comes to gender diversity.
While the number of businesses with at least one woman on their senior leadership team has significantly increased, the proportion of senior roles held by women has marginally declined. As a result, businesses are missing out on the benefits of true diversity – critical at a time when every sector is facing disruption.
The report indicated that no single policy seems to drive gender diversity, and the regions in which businesses have most policies in place – Africa, the EU and North America – demonstrate very different levels of gender diversity in business leadership.
Six in ten business leaders do not think diversity is “important”
Grant Thornton’s latest ‘Diversity Snapshot’, which comes as part of its wider International Business Report, found that around 11% of businesses have current plants to improve the ethnic diversity of their senior management team, while those that deem ethnic diversity as important to the success of their business in the future, sits at 31%.
One major issue identified by the study is a lack of translation of business goals into concrete plans to address imbalances. Despite a seemingly endless volume of data to suggest its benefits, and multiple initiatives from governments to push for diversity – such as legally mandated ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK – just 40% of business leaders said that they actually consider ethnic diversity to be important. While this alarming figure suggests that the majority of global businesses do not think diversity is a priority, what is worse is that the survey found only 14% of organisations have a specific strategy in place to improve the senior leadership teams’ diversity.
WiC Comment: time for fewer reports and more action!