A new survey by Korn Ferry reveals that executives express broad appreciation for the value women leaders contribute generally, while assessing their own company’s ability to develop women leaders as weak. Continued cultural bias was cited as the top reason for the dearth of women CEOs. Fifty-one percent of executive respondents say developing women leaders is important because “greater gender diversity makes companies perform better,” and 47 percent say “It allows companies to attract the best available talent regardless of gender.” There was little support for other reasons, including “With more women leaders, workplace policies are likely to become more employee-friendly” (1 percent) and “Women leaders are important role models for other employees” (1 percent).
“Companies with more diverse leadership that includes women are more successful across several key measures,” said Jane Stevenson, Global Leader for CEO Succession and Vice Chairman, Board & CEO Services. “Employees inside organisations understand this intuitively, based on their personal experience, but now research is broadly bearing this out.”
When asked to assess the barriers women may confront in becoming CEOs, respondents are more critical of their own companies than of companies generally. They cite reasons including “continued bias against women” (43 percent own company vs. 39 percent generally) and “not sufficient opportunity” (33 percent own company vs. 21 percent generally). Few, however, believed that becoming CEO was “less of a priority for women” (7 percent own company vs. 8 percent generally). Despite the documented value of diverse leadership, nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) don’t believe their companies make developing women leaders a priority for their organisation, while 15 percent say they have heard developing more women leaders is a “general objective.”
On balance, respondents indicated a belief that their organisations can do better at developing women leaders. Only 28 percent felt that “women are well represented among top leadership.” Forty-seven percent agreed that “there are few women leaders” in their organisation,” and 26 percent said “there are hardly any leaders who are women in their organisation.
“Organisations that aim to attract and retain the diversity that will make them more competitive should increasingly focus on their leadership development process,” said Stevenson. “Today’s global marketplace requires a varied mix of skills, experiences, and backgrounds. Ensuring a highly visible process that is viewed as fair and accessible to all top talent is one of the best retention tools, and will build loyalty and sustained productivity.”
Source: Korn Ferry
This news first appeared in the US IntelliConnect HR Tracker 12/06/2017