Research into female progression at work

New research from the 30% Club on gender intelligent approaches to developing male and female corporate leaders has revealed a new slant on how women succeed at work.

The research – conducted in four streams by business psychology consultancy, YSC and professional services firm, KPMG – encompasses a representative cross-section of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, accounting for over 680,000 employees.

It found that men and women have similar career aspirations, leadership behaviour and push and pull factors for career moves. However, the study also reveals that even small differences can result in markedly different outcomes.

Currently, a man starting his career in a FTSE 100 organisation is 4.5 times more likely to make it to the Executive Committee (‘ExCo’) than his female counterpart. The blockage is at the top: senior women are two times less likely to be promoted and four times less likely to leave than their male peers.

KPMG’s findings show that the internal pipeline of female executive talent currently feeding into main board level positions may not achieve the 30% Club’s aims, with only 23% of the representative sample of FTSE 100 companies currently having 30% or more female ExCo members. A further 23% of companies report having 20%-30% female ExCo members.

The research finds that only a minority of women at senior level - 7% of ExCo positions - have responsibility for a profit-generating area of the business. The majority of senior women are responsible for internal functions such as HR and Legal, while the commercial reins are still held by men.

To deliver fundamental change in the future, organisations need to be more honest about the strategic importance of gender diversity. All leaders must show a personal interest in the issue of getting women to the top.

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