Study shows women being denied promotions that lead to top roles

10 Nov 2020

Study shows women being denied promotions that lead to top roles

An inside look at gender imbalance of leadership teams across the globe.

Odgers Berndtson have partnered with BoardEx to release a study, a global relationship mapping and executive intelligence service, which finds that there are not enough women being promoted to roles that develop the experience necessary for advancement to top C-suite jobs, like CEO.

The Global Leadership Team Diversity Report, available below, looks at the gender balance of the key job functions of leadership teams from leading organizations across the globe.

The study looked at 14,850 individual leadership roles in companies from the top indices across 26 major countries. A focus of this research centres on the disciplines from which the managers and directors are drawn, a few of the key findings found:

  • Women only account for 19% of leadership team roles in major markets across the globe.
  • There is a wide range in global female participation levels among leadership teams, from 27% at best to 4% at worst.
  • Leadership team roles are predominantly in General Management, but on average these are only 11% female. 

The disappointing results show that there are not enough women in the relevant roles in any country to take sufficient numbers of the top spots in leading global organisations.

Higher levels of female representation are not solely a North-West European or North American phenomenon, as significant progress has been found across the globe. Australia leads the pack, with 27% female leadership teams and Malaysia has 22% female leadership, as does South Africa. The U.S. and the U.K come in a point lower with 21% female representation within their leadership teams. Surprisingly, these are lower than you would see at board level for those countries.

Gender Diversity Report
“Building a pipeline of leadership talent that is gender diverse is both a moral obligation and good business sense.”

Kester Scrope, CEO of Odgers Berndtson, continues “This is where executive search plays a critical role in addressing gender inequality. The best headhunters can identify diverse candidate pools to ensure clients have access to as broad a slate of people as possible. This is particularly important for the roles that most often lead to a seat at the top table and is essential for building high-performing leadership teams and cultures that have the skillset mix to stay ahead of competitors.”

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Global Leadership Team Gender Diversity Report

Our Global Leadership Team Diversity Report is a close-up view of leadership teams across the globe. The report is based on disclosed management groups along with BoardEx’s database of individual profiles to examine the degree of female representation at the most senior management levels of these corporations.

Download now