Further training needed to avoid ‘economic and social travesty’, says report

by L&D29 Jan 2016
In order to improve women’s roles in the workplace, it’s crucial that businesses create stronger support programs, according to Mercer’s second annual global report titled When Women Thrive.

The report recommended that this sould involve initiatives such as proper training for women coming back from maternity leave.

The suggestions come amid results which show that female representation will reach only 40% globally in the professional and managerial ranks in 2025.

Indeed, the report also found that in Australia and New Zealand only a third of the top jobs are expected to be held by women in 2025.

Further, it found that Asia is projected to have the lowest representation of women in the workforce by 2025 at 28% (the Middle East and Africa were not represented in the study).

Pat Milligan, Mercer’s Global Leader of When Women Thrive, said that the traditional methods of advancing women aren’t “moving the needle”, and under-representation of women around the world has become an “economic and social travesty”.

“While leaders have been focusing on women at the top, they’re largely ignoring the female talent pipelines so critical to maintaining progress,” Milligan said.

“This is a call-to-action – every organisation has a choice to stay with the status quo or drive their growth, communities and economies through the power of women.”

Looking specifically at the regional rankings, Latin America is projected to increase women’s representation from 36% in 2015 to 49% in 2025; followed by Australia/New Zealand moving from 35% to 40%; US/Canada improving by just 1% from 39% to 40%; Europe remaining flat at 37% in 2015 and 2025; and Asia ranking last at 28%, up from just 25% in 2015.

The survey included input from over 600 organisations around the world employing 3.2 million people (including 1.3 million women).

Brian Levine, Mercer’s Innovation Leader, Global Workforce Analytics, said it’s not enough to “create a band-aid program”.

“Most companies aren’t focused on the complete talent pipeline nor are they focused on the supporting practices and cultural change critical to ensure that women will be successful in their organisations.”

The report also found that Women are perceived to have unique skills needed in today’s market, including: flexibility and adaptability (39% vs. 20% who say men have those strengths); inclusive team management (43% vs. 20%); and emotional intelligence (24% vs. 5%).