Gender equality in the workplace ‘agonizingly slow’: McKinsey
For every 100 men promoted to the manager level, there are only 79 women who get the same promotion. Even though women have more bachelor’s degrees than men, they are less likely to get hired in managerial roles, according to a study conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org.
A gender gap at the hiring stage sets up organizations to have a weak talent pipeline. If there are fewer women in entry-level jobs, chances of them getting promoted to manager level positions are lower.
“So even though hiring and promotion rates improve at more senior levels, women can never catch up--we’re suffering from a ‘hollow middle’,” according to the study. “This should serve as a wake-up call: until companies close the early gaps in hiring and promotion, women will remain underrepresented.”
The Women in the Workplace 2018 study conducted by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org included about 279 companies that employ more than 13 million people. The study includes interviews and survey answers from more than 64,000 employees.
On the one hand, if organizations follow the current rate of hiring and promoting women to managerial levels, the increase in the number of women in management will only be 1 percent over a decade. However, if companies start hiring and promoting women at the same rate as the men, the number of women in management will be close to equal i.e. 48 percent women as compared to 52 percent men in the next decade.
The study found that women who are the only female at their management level have a way worse experience than those who get to work with more women.
In the last four years, the improvement in bridging the gender gap and making the organizational culture more open towards promoting equality has been slow. While organizations are evolving in technology and infrastructure at a lightning speed, when it comes to gender gap, the study calls the pace “agonizingly slow.”
Companies say they are committed to gender diversity. At the same time, only half of the employees believe that their respective companies treat gender equality in the workplace as a priority. About 20 percent of employees said their companies just use gender diversity as a talking point instead of actually implementing the policies into practice. Although 76 percent of the companies have a well thought out gender diversity plan, only 13 percent have actually measured the positive impact it would have on their bottom line.
In order to fast track the mission to create workplaces that are based on gender diversity, the McKinsey study recommends companies to build an action plan.
Breaking down gender diversity into an achievable goal that includes a system of setting targets, reporting and holding the stakeholders accountable is the first step. It is vital to ensure that hiring and promotions are based on a fair and balanced practice.
HR practitioners along with CXOs need to lead by example and promote a respectful culture that makes a diverse set of employees feel included. Another major aspect of retaining excellent women employees is to offer all employees ways to fit work into their life goals.
Taking action is the only way to change the numbers, the study reports.