CHICAGO--()--While more women are advancing into senior management roles globally than at any time since 2010, progress is slower in the G7 group of developed economies, according to new research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), a survey of 6,600 business leaders in 44 countries.
“If we really want to move the needle when it comes to women in senior management roles, though quotas continue to be quite controversial, long-term goals for businesses could be a proven way to increase these numbers”
IBR data reveals that globally, 24 percent of senior management roles are now filled by women, up from 21 percent in 2012 and 20 percent in 2011. However, the G7 economies cite just 21 percent of senior roles occupied by women, compared to 28 percent in the BRIC economies and 32 percent in South East Asia. The United States ranks in the bottom eight performing countries for women in senior management at 20 percent, along with Japan at 7 percent and the United Kingdom at 19 percent.
Interestingly, these economies are also experiencing low levels of growth with GDP in Japan (1.9 percent), the United Kingdom (-0.1 percent) and the United States (2.2 percent) modest in 2012. In comparison, China ranks as the top country for women in senior management at 51 percent, while GDP growth for 2013 there is projected to be between 7-8 percent. The top 10 performing countries include the growth economies of Latvia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines.
“We continue to see some progress, though slow, among businesses to promote women to senior management roles,” said Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of Diversity & Inclusion. “It’s imperative that businesses in developed economies emulate their emerging market counterparts and reap the benefits of having more women in senior positions.”
The situation is even starker for women obtaining boardroom positions. In the G7, just 16 percent of board members are women, the same percentage as in the United States. This compares to 26 percent in the BRIC economies. Fifty-five percent of businesses worldwide, and 62 percent in the United States, said they would be against the idea of quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies.
“If we really want to move the needle when it comes to women in senior management roles, though quotas continue to be quite controversial, long-term goals for businesses could be a proven way to increase these numbers,” added O’Malley.
The IBR data also reveals that flexible working, while welcomed by many, does not appear to be a determining factor in advancing women into senior roles. Seventy-two percent of businesses in the poor-performing G7 countries provide flexible working, while in top-performing China only 27 percent of businesses and 40 percent in the BRIC economies offer flexible working.
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Notes to editors
The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 12,500 businesses per year across 44 economies. This unique survey draws upon 21 years of trend data for most European participants and 10 years for many non-European economies. For more information, please visit: www.internationalbusinessreport.com
Data collection is managed by Grant Thornton International's core research partner -Experian. Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. Fieldwork is undertaken on a quarterly basis. The research is carried out primarily by telephone.
IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses. The data for this release are drawn from interviews with 6,627 businesses from all industry sectors across the globe conducted between November 2012 and January 2013. The target respondents are chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives.
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