- Companies that provide significant opportunities for women to advance through the corporate ranks earned a spot on Working Mother's 2020+ Top Companies for Executive Women released Dec. 1. The top 10 companies — Abbott, AbbVie, Children's Health of Atlanta, FleishmanHillard, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oréal, Marriott International, Procter & Gamble and Unilever — outperformed others in best practices to hire, retain and advance women into senior positions, according to Working Mother.
- Each of the top 10 companies offered training for managers on hiring and advancing women compared to 69% of the top 75, according to the report. The majority (90%) of the top 10 offered profit-and-loss (P&L) training for women, including multicultural women, compared to 63% of the top 75. Meanwhile, just over a third (34%) of top 10 companies have women in senior leadership roles with P&L experience compared to 27% of top 75 companies. In the report, P&L roles are defined as monitoring the net income after expenses for a department or entire organization with a direct influence on fund allocation. "We are the only organization that counts women holding revenue-generating operations positions with profit-and-loss responsibility, as those are the jobs that are the path to the top," Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives, a division of Working Mother, said in a statement.
- Many companies in the top 10 and top 75 compensate managers for diversity and inclusion goals and require diverse interview slates. Approximately 60% of the top 75 companies offer formal sponsorship programs. Working Mother's list is based on an application organizations submitted in March 2020.
Despite programs and initiatives at many companies, progress in advancing women into CEO roles and profit-and-loss positions has been slow.
"Gender Gap at the Top," a 2019 study by Working Mother Research Institute, explored areas impacting a woman's ability to reach the top of an organization. There is often a lack of accountability for companies to drive measurable results in advancing women, according to the researchers. At the time of the study, 48% of men surveyed said they received detailed information on career paths to P&L jobs in the past 24 months compared to 15% of women. More than half (64%) of the women surveyed who never had a P&L position, but may want one, named a male-dominated culture as an obstacle.
For every "open P&L and feeder position," companies should mandate the consideration of diverse slates of qualified women candidates as well as create a regular monitoring system for compliance with the mandate, Working Mother recommended. Recommendations also included using work/life and flexibility policies and to build a supportive culture; and getting "the CEO on board by demonstrating the value women bring to the business."
"The path to the CEO historically and consistently requires P&L experience," Subha V. Barry, president of Working Mother Media told HR Dive in August. Black, Asian and Latinx women particularly encounter hurdles to reaching P&L roles, according to Working Mother. Research showed "only 20% of multicultural women were encouraged to consider P&L roles during their careers," Barry said.
Employers can establish an early-identification process, assign high-potential candidates to P&L roles and provide educational opportunities on how to understand the company's financial statements, she said. In addition, employers should "track and incorporate financial and promotion incentives at every people manager level (not just at senior levels) for retention and promotion of multicultural women," Barry said.
Mentorship is also important, the report found. Three quarters (75%) of companies on Working Mother's 2020 50 Best Companies for Multicultural Women list "actually track the race/ethnicity/gender of mentors and about 45% track race/ethnicity/gender for sponsors," Barry said.