Wichert, I.
IBM Smarter Workforce Institute
Area of focus: 
Business Case

This paper presents a business case for women's improved career progression within organisations, across the four quadrants of organisational performance, growth and innovation, customer orientation, and internal processes. It presents new research which finds that employees working in environments with high levels of diversity and inclusion are three times more confident in their organisation's ability to perform, are three times more engaged, and half as likely to leave their jobs.

A survey of a wide range of CEOs from around the world finds that business leaders believe the traditional hierarchical management paradigm is being replaced by a modern paradigm based on innovation, connection and engagement. Research is cited which suggests that women are more likely to exhibit a democratic, participatory management style which conforms to this paradigm; employing more women in senior management is also necessary to address the growing proportion of buying decisions being made by female consumers.

Eleven factors across three levels are identified which influence women's progression within the organisation, with those most relevant to promotion being networking, actively seeking opportunities and being selected for critical job assignments. The paper concludes with nine practical recommendations for organisations to increase gender diversity in their senior management.