- A majority of HR execs believe gender parity is a significant issue in workplace leadership roles, according to a report from Korn Ferry and The Conference Board. Of almost 300 HR professionals polled, 62% believe there are more women in leadership roles than there were only five years ago, however, 66% believe there is still inadequate representation of women in leadership roles in their own organizations today.
- The report revealed that the higher the level within an organization, the poorer the gender representation is for female workers. At the SVP or C-suite level, women only represent about little more than a fifth of executives, the report said. A majority of the leaders polled (66%) agree that the number of women at the VP level in their own organizations is inadequate, and 65% agree overall representation at the C-suite level is unsatisfactory.
- Half the survey respondents cited a lack of women in the talent pipeline as a barrier to better representation. Women being able to access the necessary experiences to advance their careers was named by another 40% of respondents as a major hurdle.
Although recruiters believe gender equity in hiring is on the rise, the numbers still show a lack of diverse representation at the highest levels of most organizations. Some believe poor representation of women on the MBA track is partially to blame. Unlike men who appear to pursue advanced degrees at myriad ages, most women pursue their advanced degrees at a younger age, and once they pass 35, are less likely to go back to school, recent research found.
With the goal of increasing representation at the highest ranks, HR might consider partnering with universities to provide advanced degrees to workers or auditing its L&D practices to ensure that the programs resonate with female workers and are accessible to them.
Gendered policy barriers or a poor work culture could also be part of the problem. A recent ranking of the S&P 100, which looked at the number gender discrimination lawsuits in each company, assessed paid leave policies and examined harassment polices, rated no employer higher than a B+ rating for gender equality. Studies have warned that women will not achieve leadership parity until 2073 at today's pace and that it will take at least 100 years before pay equity is reached, so HR may need to re-evaluate its organizations holistically. Reexamining paid leave policies, auditing pay practices to look for gendered wage gaps, and fine-tuning its approach to L&D could help HR achieve better representation within its workforces.