According to a new report from The Boston Consulting Group women aren’t convinced that companies are making progress towards greater inclusivity.
91% of women interviewed for the report (a total of 17,500 employees participate), said they knew about the gender-diversity initiatives offered at their company, yet only 27% said they have benefitted from them.
This could, of course, be because the type of “initiatives” are not addressing the “issues” as far as women are concerned.
Often, senior leaders—typically men—don’t grasp the scope of the problem or recognize the circumstances in which women experience the effects of gender imbalance most directly.
For example, when asked if their company offers support for women from executives and middle managers, 72% of male respondents say yes, compared with only 54% of women.
Similarly, men often have different ideas about where things go wrong. They tend to identify recruitment as the biggest challenge in gender diversity. Women, by contrast, think that advancement and retention are the biggest challenges.
Matt Krentz, a senior partner at BCG and coauthor of the report said:
Instead, it’s important for leaders to understand which investments can have the greatest impact.
For companies seeking to stretch their diversity spending and generate a higher ROI, the findings point to three clear imperatives:
- Companies need to understand their particular underlying issues.
- Companies need to know which measures are the most effective in addressing these problems.
- Companies should thoughtfully and deliberately implement the programs they introduce, testing the ROI of interventions and imposing a minimum bar for new ideas.
According to female employees some measures are more effective than others.
- increasing visibility of female role models to inspire women at lower levels in the company
- empowering men to support diversity
- providing support for women returning from maternity leave