The pandemic has been especially brutal for women striving to be executives
IBMpublished a new report on womenin leadership on March 8, International Women's Day.
- IBM's new report shows no change in female representation at the top of the corporate pipeline.
- Women made up just 10% of
C-suiteand 8% of executive board positions in 2021, same as in 2019.
A new report on women and leadership from IBM published on International Women's Day shows that there has been no change in the number of women in top executive positions, and some leadership roles have even seen a decline.
The new report looks at women in the corporate pipeline, estimating the share of women in positions at different career levels. The analysis covers 10 industries, like healthcare and retail, from nine different countries or regions.Women are already underrepresented in various corporate leadership positions, and it seems like representation is becoming worse based on the new report.
IBM's report shows that there was no change in the share of women who were part of the C-suite and executive board positions in 2019, when IBM first conducted this survey, and in 2021. Additionally, the share of women has decreased in other positions, from junior professionals to senior vice presidents:Senior vice presidents and both middle and senior managers saw the largest percentage-point declines between 2019 and 2021.
Interestingly, the number in the top two leadership positions saw no change despite "national mandates in a growing list of countries that includes Norway, Spain, France, Iceland, and Germany." These requirements include a certain number of women be part of boards, according to a NPR article cited by the report.Similarly, according to a report from FactSet, a large share of women in top management positions are concentrated in human resources and chief administrative roles, while only 5.5% of CEOs among the 3,000 large US companies in the analysis were women. Among the 429 organizations included in both the 2019 and 2021 IBM studies, the share of respondents who said they agree with the statement "we ensure high-performing women receive promotions as often as high-performing men" decreased while those who responded neutral, or neither agreeing nor disagreeing, increased.
The report notes that although workplaces are implementing more programs to help address the issue of inequity for women, companies can do more to really address the underlying issues, such as creating "personalized development plans" and making visible commitments.
Only 1 in 4 organizations said advancing women is a top 10 business priority, and fewer respondents this year compared to 2019 said "they expected their organizations would significantly improve gender parity over the next 5 years."
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