When Women Thrive

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A comprehensive new assessment of women in the global workforce from Mercer, the international human resources consulting firm, has identified a “glaring and persistent gap in female workforce participation.” Although efforts at gender equality are under way in every region of the world, they are falling far short of what’s needed.

“Underrepresentation of women around the world has become an economic and social travesty,” said Pat Milligan, Mercer’s global leader of When Women Thrive. “While leaders have been focusing on women at the top, they’re largely ignoring the female talent pipelines so critical to maintaining progress.”

For the 2016 When Women Thrive Global Report, Mercer consulted nearly 600 organizations in 42 countries, representing 3.2 million employees.

Here are some of the key findings:

Globally, women make up 33 percent of managers, 26 percent of senior managers, and only 20 percent of executives.

Although women are making some gains at the top—being hired into executive positions 1.5 times as often as men—they leave those positions 1.3 times more often than men, undermining their progress.

If companies don’t get better at hiring, promoting, and retaining women, by 2025 women will hold just 40 percent of professional and managerial positions.

The report’s authors say CEOs and diversity leaders must create programs that bring diverse talent into the employment pipeline, while also building company cultures that promote inclusion. An executive summary is available at mercer.com/our-thinking/when-women-thrive.html.

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