- A multi-year strategy for achieving gender equality may not be a priority for the majority of organizations surveyed in Mercer's "When Women Thrive 2020 Global Report." Released March 3, the report found that 81% of companies surveyed worldwide said that diversity and inclusion (D&I) is important. However, only 42% have created a plan for reaching gender equality.
- Mercer surveyed senior HR and business leaders from more than 1,150 companies in 54 countries, representing over 7 million employees worldwide on issues including gender equity, accountability, leadership engagement and pay equity. The report found that rates for hiring, promoting and retaining women are now comparable to rates for men, which is an improvement. Forty percent of women comprise the global workforce, up slightly from 38% four years ago. Women make up 47% of support staff and 42% of professional level positions, and 29% and 23% of senior and executive level positions, respectively, the report stated.
- About half of the organizations surveyed do not have staff exclusively dedicated to D&I; 64% track gender representation, and "even fewer" analyze hires, promotions and exits by gender, the report noted. President and CEO of Mercer Martine Ferland said in a statement that although gender equality has evolved into a global imperative, "there is still much work to do to achieve gender balance."
Most Americans are in favor of D&I and gender equity in the workplace, which is good for business, according to research. However companies continue to struggle with implementing best practices.
In a Randstad US survey released in October 2019, 81% of employees surveyed said they like working with people from different cultures. And research supporting Great Place to Work's 2019 ranking of the 100 Best Workplaces for Diversity found that "key metrics related to equity and inclusion not only drive stronger company innovation, but also predict whether companies will thrive or stumble during a recession," Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, said in a statement.
Despite the benefits of creating inclusive and equitable environments, there's a perception gap as to its importance. "Getting to Equal 2020: The Hidden Value of Culture Makers," Accenture's global survey of more than 30,000 professionals in 28 countries released March 4, found that diversity and inclusion is not a top strategic priority for the majority leaders. Financial performance and brand recognition (76% and 72%, respectively) were named top priorities and 34% of leaders ranked diversity as a top priority.
The research points to a disconnect in how leaders and employees perceive equity and company culture. About 68% of leaders surveyed said they create empowering environments where people feel a sense of belonging. But just one third (36%) of employees agreed. Six percent of the leaders surveyed met the standard of culture makers — more likely to lead companies where people advance, remain engaged and focus on innovation. Accenture said in the report that aligning leaders' perceptions with those of their employees would result in both women and men advancing faster, and global profits would increase by $3.7 trillion.