Workforce Gender Equity

Given the aforementioned benefits of women in leadership roles, it stands to reason that keeping women in the workforce as they journey up the corporate ladder will be critical to maintaining a pipeline of talent for businesses. Currently, women only account for 23 percent of all executive roles globally, according to Denominator.

Much has been made of the Great Resignation, and women in middle management jobs are three times more likely to resign than their male counterparts, according to a recent Qualtrics report. This discrepancy is partially owed to the fact that broadly speaking, women both make less money and have a greater unpaid care burden, making them more likely to drop out of the workforce in a crisis (further explored in the Resilient Workforce section of this report).

We often talk about the 'glass ceiling' that prevents women from reaching senior leadership positions. In reality, the biggest obstacle that women face is much earlier in the pipeline, at the first step up to manager. Fixing this 'broken rung' is the key to achieving parity.”
McKinsey, Women in the Workplace: 2019

But there are deeper pipeline issues. For every 100 men who are promoted to management, only 72 women are promoted, according to McKinsey. With so few women hired for early management roles, there are fewer female senior leaders. The number of women decreases at every level of the ladder.

If there are few female managers, there will be few female senior managers. It’s important that this enters the conversation around board diversity, because the pipeline starts much earlier than a board hire.”
Katherine Conway Head of Inclusion and Cultural Initiatives at Aon

There is a case to be made here: It is possible that if women were promoted and hired to be early leaders at the same rates as men—which would add one million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years, according to McKinsey & Company—they may be earning enough to be the spouse that stays working when family care or childcare is required.

According to a recent study by McKinsey, Women in the Workplace, “women's and men's networks are similar in size, but their composition is different, with more men in men's networks. Since men are more likely to hold leadership positions, women may have significantly less access to senior-level people who can help them advance. And fewer women report help from such people in advancing.”

The impact of women in the workforce on climate action—separate from women’s influence in leadership positions—is an area of very little research. While emerging work contains tantalizing suggestions of a relationship between the two, more research is needed. Nevertheless, businesses (and the insurers which serve them) must consider developing products and services to attract and retain women in the workforce for a critical mass to be reached for optimal business and climate results.

Navigating Volatility

4. Reducing Volatility in the Supply Chain

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