There are some specific regional pushes which are increasing the percentage of women in these senior roles.
The trend for women to take on roles at the very top of businesses is particularly prevalent in North America where 39% of businesses have a female CEO / MD – due in part, to external pressures around ESG reporting. While the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has already proposed climate change and cybersecurity reporting rules, it’s expected to propose human capital and board diversity disclosure rules in 2023.[i]
In Australia, government policy will likely begin pushing employers closer to parity. Employers with over 100 staff will soon be required to report their gender pay gap.[ii]
Said Jahani, national managing partner at Grant Thornton Australia comments: “As a country, Australia have been trailblazers in this area. We’ve been on a real journey and I think there has certainly been a mind shift here, particularly post-pandemic, which will see more women shift into these more senior roles. The new pay gap bill will certainly be a step in the right direction.”
In some countries the increasing trend for female entrepreneurs is also providing a boost.[iii] As these firms evolve from start-ups to mid-market scale, these entrepreneurial women will lead them.
Importantly, these businesses are also receiving government support. In May 2022, the UK government launched a ‘Taskforce on Women-Led High-Growth Enterprises’ which aims to tackle investing barriers and increase the number of women-led fast-growing businesses.[iv]
Katie MacQuivey comments: “Companies benefit financially from having diverse leadership teams, and as a result so does the global economy—so governments are paying attention. The entrepreneurial drive is extremely high right now. Women are getting educated at higher rates and more are looking to start their own companies and sit on executive teams, creating a larger talent pool for startups and established midsize businesses.”
While we have seen a broadening out of roles on a global level, this has clearly been driven by some key regions. Countries should look at the policies and mindsets being adopted by some of these regions, as pulling more women through into the very top positions will accelerate progress towards parity.