Accelerating women into leadership

Accelerating the path to gender parity

97% of Millennials think they’ll be the generation to finally achieve equal opportunities for women in the workplace – but estimate it will take another 21 years.

That’s according to the latest ManpowerGroup report, ‘Seven steps to conscious inclusion: a practical guide to accelerating more women into leadership‘.

Established male leaders were more optimistic about when gender parity will be achieved, suggesting that a level playing field will be achieved in the next 14 years.

Jonas Prising, CEO of ManpowerGroup, said: “Getting women into leadership isn’t just an ethical imperative. When half of the talent pool and half of consumers are female, it makes good business sense and achieves diversity of thought and better decision-making.

“CEOs need to own this. Accountability sits with senior leadership to create and champion a culture of conscious inclusion. Articulating a talent legacy, saying how things will change, and by when, helps leaders realise the seriousness of this. True change takes time, focus and discipline.”

The report also found that 42% of leaders believe flexible working is key to getting more women into leadership. This one-size-fits-one approach requires a rethinking of the entire workforce, moving to a culture that values performance and output, over and above presenteeism.

Nearly 60% of leaders interviewed said they believe the single most powerful thing an organisation can do to promote more women leaders is to create a gender-neutral culture, led by the CEO.

“It’s proven that the problem will not correct itself – we are stuck in a circular conversation,” said Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup’s Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent and Co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Gender Parity.

“Getting more women into P&L roles will significantly help accelerate the talent and leadership pipeline, but requires focus, discipline and commitment from the CEO down to make it happen. That’s why we commissioned this report to help turn words into action.”

ManpowerGroup has been working on achieving gender parity for two decades. In 1999, Jeff Joerres, then CEO, made a personal commitment to get women onto an all-male board. Within a decade, over a third of the board were female and this remains so today. Added to this, a third of our top executives and half of our Emerging Leaders are female.