There is a need to act differently to realize the benefit of their full participation and address the unique needs of female employees, she added. The Mercer report titled ‘When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive’ revealed that despite making up 41 per cent of the workforce globally, women’s highest representation among all career levels is in support staff roles.
Women make up 40 per cent of the workforce at the professional level and 36 per cent at the managerial level, but only 26 per cent of senior managers and 19 per cent of executives, it pointed out. The study said that active involvement of senior leaders in gender diversity leads to greater, accelerated representation of women in executive roles. Yet, just more than half (56 per cent) of organizations indicate that their senior executives are actively involved in diversity and inclusion programmes, it said. Further, it said, a dedicated team responsible for pay equity leads to more women in senior roles while common policies like flexible work schedules and leave programmes, are associated with slower improvement in the number of women in leadership positions.
The study also showed that non-traditional solutions to gender diversity positively impact an organization’s long-term ability to engage and retain female talent. For instance, more diverse retirement programmes, including monitoring savings by gender, providing investment training customized to different gender realities and gender-specific health education campaigns correlate with greater representation of women at senior levels.
However, fewer than 15 per cent of organizations monitor savings and offer retirement programmes customized to different gender behaviors’, the study said.”Clearly, companies can do better in addressing and progressing gender equality in the workplace and leveraging the capabilities of a diverse workforce.”Given the size of the untapped female workforce, greater participation of women has major implications for the economic and social development of communities and nations as well as business outcomes and performance,” Milligan added.