The Latest on Leaning In - balancenow

Click here to open menu Get in touch

The Latest on Leaning In

View more news

  • 16 May
  • by Susan Jansen
  • Attract

Each year teams up with McKinsey and Company to study the state of women in corporate America.   The study covers 132 companies employing more than 4.6 million people.  It is designed to uncover their attitudes on gender, job satisfaction, ambition, and work-life issues.

Here at Balance Now, we wait for this study each year with anticipation as it delivers sharp insight into progress (or lack of it) and what’s working.  We summarised the best of 2016 for you below:

The Insights

For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted.  The disparity in promotion rates (the highest difference was in the first promotion to manager) is not going to build the required pipeline for more women in senior leadership roles.

Very few women are in line to become CEO – By the time women reach the SVP/GM level, they hold just 20% of line roles (by line role we mean ownership of a business line with P&L accountability), and line roles lead more directly to the C-suite: In 2015, 90% of new CEOs in the S&P 500 were promoted or hired from line roles.

Women are negotiating as often as men—but face pushback when they do. Women who negotiate for a promotion or compensation increase are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are “bossy,” “too aggressive,” or “intimidating.”

Women get less access to senior leaders: Women and men both view sponsorship by senior leaders as essential for success. Yet women report fewer interactions with senior leaders than their male counterparts do.  This gap widens as women and men advance.

Women ask for feedback as often as men—but are less likely to receive it. Despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, women report they receive it less frequently.  Moreover, there appears to be a disconnect in the way managers convey difficult feedback.  Most managers say they rarely hesitate to give difficult feedback to both women and men, but women report they receive it less frequently.

Women question whether companies are making progress:  Only 22% of employees say that progress on gender diversity is regularly measured and shared across the company.  Only 28 percent of entry-level employees and 51 percent of middle managers say they know what to do to improve gender diversity their company.


What Companies Need to Do to Turn It Around

Make a compelling case for gender diversity

Companies need get better at communicating why gender diversity matters and how it benefits everyone. Using a combination of storytelling and data, companies should speak to the positive impact greater gender diversity has. Not just on individuals, but also on the company, its customers and on society more broadly.

Ensure that hiring, promotions, and reviews are fair

Sourcing the right people is a critical first step in both hiring and promotions.  Currently, less than half of companies require diverse slates of candidates.

Invest in more employee training

A lack of knowledge leads to a lack of action.  If 51% of middle managers don’t know what to do, it’s time to provide support that works.

Focus on accountability and results

Although most companies track metrics on women’s representation, targets are far less common. Only 44 percent of companies set pipeline targets, and even fewer set targets for external hiring and promotions. And targets matter—it is easier to track and make progress when a company has clear goals in place.

The data coming out of the US is disappointing.  It shows there is still much work to do.  Balance Now’s WOW Insights came to the same conclusion.

On the bright side, it  also highlights the size of the opportunity.   Organisations that get it right first will have a unique competitive advantage.   They will also be the first to realise the commercial benefits gender balance delivers.

We have a comprehensive offering of initiatives to drive change in all of the areas recommended in the report. If you’d like to find our more have a look at How We Create Change or  Contact Us

Read more posts