ManpowerGroup, the world’s workforce expert, today published global research revealing that 97% of Millennials think they’ll be the generation to finally achieve equal opportunities for women in the workplace.
However, they are pragmatic about when it will happen, estimating it will take another 21 years. The most optimistic were established male leaders, who estimate the playing field will be level in the next 14 years, despite the fact they hold the power and influence at a time when progress is stalling.
The report, “Seven Steps to Conscious Inclusion: A Practical Guide to Accelerating More Women into Leadership,” takes a deep-dive into generational, gender and geographical divides on attitudes to achieving gender parity and provides practical solutions to make progress faster. It draws on insights from more than 200 global leaders and identifies structural obstacles that need to be overcome.
The most significant obstacle identified is an entrenched male culture, a barrier that even men acknowledged must change.
Three-fifths (59%) of leaders interviewed said they believe the single most powerful thing an organization can do to promote more women leaders is to create a gender-neutral culture, led by the CEO. Two-fifths (42%) agreed that flexible working is key to getting more women into leadership. This requires a wholesale rethinking of the workplace, particularly a shift in focus from presenteeism to performance.
“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. “Increasing representation by putting more women in support roles like Communications and HR is just not good enough anymore. That is not shifting the needle. Getting more women into P&L roles will significantly help accelerate the talent and leadership pipeline. That’s why we commissioned this report – to help turn words into action.”
“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, achieves diversity of thought and better decision-making.” said Jonas Prising, CEO, ManpowerGroup.
“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 realize the seriousness of this. True change takes time, focus and discipline.”