Based on data collected from 110 corporations and interviews with a selection of talent management experts, this report examines how gender bias is introduced into and perpetuated within talent management systems. It presents a model of the interactions of various roles within the talent management process, discussing the potential for cascading effects.
Several issues are identified and discussed, including instances where the norms modelled by senior leadership are adopted by junior employees, where talent managers ascribe male-stereotyped behaviours to ideal leadership candidates, and where high-visibility projects are assigned inequitably. Gaps between the design and execution of these systems can introduce gender bias even in systems designed to be sensitive to the problem, as few companies have effective checks embedded in their processes. A wide range of strategies and recommendations are made to mitigate this process, and case studies of successful programmes are presented.