McKinsey & Company has released its fifth edition of Women in the Workplace in partnership with LeanIn.org. This year’s findings show an increase in the number of women in leadership roles at the C-suite level as well companies’ commitment to gender diversity and accountability from senior leaders.
This is positive news, considering that the latest data shows the United States as the 28th best country to be a woman, according to Equal Measures 2030 2019 Sustainable Development Goals Gender Index. When it comes specifically to business, there remains a 20 percent gap between men and women in pay.
Digging into the McKinsey & Company report, you find that “for every 100 men promoted or hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired.” The gap means that women are being left behind at a significant point in their career: the transition from entry-level to management. While people are familiar with the term “glass ceiling” (the invisible barrier that keeps women from rising to senior level positions), the disparity between men and women in reaching management is referred to as the “broken rung.”
According to Catalyst, women account for 29 percent of senior management and 87 percent of global businesses have at least one woman in a senior management role. Variations occur based on region - in the United States, 31 percent of senior management roles are held by women as compared to 25 percent in Latin America - and industry, with human resources supplying the largest percentage of women in senior roles at 43 percent.
The surprising truth is that there are more men named John than there are women in leadership roles in the United States. Breaking the numbers down even further, white women hold 32.6 percent of the management roles, with Latina (6.2), Black (3.8) and Asian (2.4) filling out the 40 percent.
Adding to the issue, many human resource professionals are unaware of the disruption in women’s journey to leadership at this transition point. The McKinsey & Company report also found that HR employees were overly optimistic about when their company would reach parity in leadership; more than half believed parity was within 10 years when, based on numbers, it is decades away.
To solve the broken rung and help increase the number of women in leadership, McKinsey & Company recommends five steps:
Read the full report: McKinsey & Company/Lean In Women in the Workplace: The State of the Pipeline.
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