News: The gender gap persists in corporate leadership: Report

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The gender gap persists in corporate leadership: Report

India has witnessed slightly more than 2% growth in the overall percentage of women in senior leadership roles from 16.6% in 2016 to 18.7% in 2023.
The gender gap persists in corporate leadership: Report

There has been an overall increase in the representation of females across the workforce over the years, rising from 23.9% in 2016 to 26.8% in 2024. However, gender disparity in leadership roles continues to persist. Women's participation in leadership roles increased by 2% from 16.6% in 2016 to 18.7% in 2023. In the first half of 2024, it has dipped slightly to 18.3%, which is expected to be improved by the end of the year.

Despite relatively strong female representation at the entry-level and senior independent contributor levels at 28.7% and 29.53%, respectively the challenge of advancing women's leadership in Indian organisations is evident.

According to LinkedIn and The Quantum Hub “Women in Leadership in Corporate India” report, there is a significant drop as women advance to managerial positions at 18.59% followed by a continuous decline in female representation in leadership positions, with 20.1% at director roles, 17.4% at Vice President roles and at 15.3% at C-suite positions. 

Industries with the highest and lowest participation of women in leadership 

The report found that education at 30% and government administration at 29% are where women are highly represented at the leadership level. Followed by administrative and support services and hospitals and health care each with 23%. Sectors like Technology, Information, Media, and Financial Services each have moderate female representation in leadership at 19%. 

The lowest representation of women at leadership is found in Construction, Oil, Gas and Mining, and Utilities, each with 11% female representation in leadership, while Wholesale and Manufacturing have 12%, and Accommodation and Food Services have 15%.

Industries with improvement in women's representation

Some industries have seen overall improvements in the percentage of female leadership hired, such as Consumer Services, which experienced a significant increase from 30% in 2016 to 37% in 2024.

Meanwhile, industries like Construction and Utilities have shown relatively stable percentages over the years, indicating consistent but slower growth rates in female leadership hires.

The way forward and recommendations

Based on its analysis of the ecosystem, the report suggests pathways for different stakeholders including government, industry, and civil society to support and promote women in leadership roles. These recommendations have been categorised as long-term (5-10 years), medium term (3-5 years) and short-term (1-3 years). They include suggestions on a ‘skills-first’ approach to hiring, mentorship and networking opportunities, and shared parental leave, among others.

“Boosting women’s leadership in Indian businesses is crucial for better outcomes. LinkedIn Economic Graph data shows that despite progress, women still face obstacles in reaching leadership roles due to bias, societal norms, and structural barriers. However, the recent focus on 'women-led development' has led to concerted efforts by both policymakers and business leaders to tackle these challenges. I hope this report will inspire tangible steps towards narrowing gender disparities, particularly in senior leadership positions,” said Aditi Jha, Board Member, Country Head: Legal & Government Affairs, LinkedIn India.

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Topics: Diversity, Culture, #SheMatters

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