Women in the Workplace 2019

Jason Cheng

This year, 329 companies employing more than 13 million people shared their pipeline data or completed a survey of their HR practices. In addition, more than 68,500 employees were surveyed on their workplace experiences, and we interviewed women and men of different races and ethnicities, LGBTQ women and men, and women with disabilities at all levels in their organizations
for additional insights.

Our 2019 findings build on our data from the last four years, as well as similar research conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2012.

Women in the Workplace 2018

Jason Cheng

For the last four years, companies have reported that they are highly committed to gender diversity. But that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress.

Women continue to be vastly underrepresented at every level. For women of color, it’s even worse. Only about one in five senior leaders is a woman, and one in twenty-five is a woman of color.

Progress isn’t just slow—it’s stalled. And we know why.

Women in the Workplace 2016

Jason Cheng

In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step

The impact of Covid-19 on gender equality

Jason Cheng

The economic downturn caused by the current Covid-19 outbreak has substantial implications for gender equality, both during the downturn and the subsequent recovery. Compared to ‘regular’ recessions, which affect men’s employment more severely than women’s employment, the employment drop related to social distancing measures has a large impact on sectors with high
female employment shares. In addition, closures of schools and daycare centers have massively increased child care needs, which has a particularly large impact on working mothers. The effects of the crisis on working mothers are likely to be persistent, due to high returns to experience in the labour market. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are opposing forces which may ultimately promote gender equality in the labour market.

Ninety percent of Iceland’s women walked off the job in 1975, and the country came to a halt

Jason Cheng

When 90 percent of Icelandic women refused to work, and the country fell into chaos, they had succeeded.
On Friday, October 24, 1975, telephone lines went down; families scrounged for food; theaters cancelled performances; even the following day’s newspaper was half its average length. On an island with just 220,000 inhabitants, the country simply could not go on without the help of women.

One year after the strike, Iceland formed the Gender Equality Council and passed the Gender Equality Act against discrimination in the workplace. Four years after that, Finnbogadottir was elected president. She called Women’s Day Off a watershed moment for women’s emancipation, and she stood as one of its major symbols of progress. “The finger was pointed at me and I accepted the challenge,” she recalled.

New Goldman Sachs dress code points to a sartorial double standard in the workplace

Jason Cheng

Goldman Sachs, one of the last bastions of crisp-collared, bespoke-suited workplace attire, has loosened up. It announced an official “firm-wide flexible dress code” earlier this month. And at last — after the long, slow undoing of corporate formality — business casual seems to have triumphed in the American workplace. But for women and minorities who have been playing corporate catch-up for decades, a more casual dress code presents its own complications. Women at work who feel pressure to prove they deserve to be in the room might be wary of ditching their blazers and pumps.

Gender-balance Teams Linked to Better Business Performance: A Sodexo Study

Jason Cheng

Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles, in spite of research indicating that gender- balanced leadership has a positive impact on the bottom line.
However, gender balance impacts performance only when the optimal balance is reached.
The results of the Sodexo study confirm that this balance corresponds to a male-female ratio between 40% and 60%, reinforcing that diversity is key to enhanced performance.
Entities with gender-balanced management performed better on all of the performance indicators measured, including employee engagement, brand awareness, client retention and three indicators of financial performance.
Teams at Sodexo within the optimum gender- balanced zone have experienced on average an increase of four points in the global engagement rate versus only one point for other teams between 2010 and 2012.

Women at Work: Women’s Access to Power and the Gender Earnings Gap

Jason Cheng

Using a unique sample of 5,022 workers in 94 large German workplaces, the authors explore whether and how women’s access to higher level positions, firms’ human resources practices, and workers’ qualification levels are associated with gender differences in earnings. First, they find that having more women in management reduces the gender earnings gap for jobs with low qualifications, but not those with high qualifications. Second, they find that while men’s compensation is positively affected by having a male supervisor, women with a female supervisor do not receive such an advantage. Finally, they find that human resources practices and job-level qualifications moderate the association between gendered power and gender earnings inequalities. Integrating women into managerial and supervisory roles does not automatically reduce gender inequalities; its impacts are contingent on organizational context.

Accenture: Equality Equals Innovation Research Report (2019)

Jason Cheng

Accenture has found that a culture of equality—the same kind of workplace environment that helps everyone advance to higher positions—is a powerful multiplier of innovation and growth. Global gross domestic product would increase by up to US$8 trillion by 2028 if innovation mindset in all countries were raised by 10 percent. Diversity positively influences an innovation mindset, and equality is the multiplier. A culture of equality is anchored by three pillars: an Empowering Environment (one that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers freedom to be creative and to train and work flexibly), Bold Leadership (a diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures equality targets openly), and Comprehensive Action (policies and practices that are family-friendly, support all genders and are bias- free in attracting and retaining people).