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Gender diversity has proven to benefit firms, with female bosses driving higher levels of employee engagement and sexist workplaces earning 15.4% less.
So why aren’t firms doing more to promote gender diversity in their boardrooms?
According to a new survey of women in the workforce by Skillsoft, nearly all (94%) of the 450 women across the globe cited an imbalance of women in leadership roles in business today.
More than half of the respondents (53%) also felt it was extremely important or important for their organisations to offer leadership training specific to women.
However, only 20% of women felt their employers are doing a good job at addressing the unequal balance of men and women in senior level positions.
Four out of 10 (40%) of respondents thought their bosses are doing a fair job in ensuring this, while 31% thought their organisation was doing a poor job.
“The lack of women in leadership positions is not because women are not capable of hard work, strategic thinking and management – it’s that boardrooms have not made a mixed gender leadership pipeline a priority,” said Priti Shah, vice president of leadership product strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.
While organisations do provide leadership training opportunities such as self-paced e-learning and classroom- based instructor-led training to employees overall, much less of these opportunities are available to women.
For instance, less than half of respondents cited that leadership development opportunities in the form of conferences (47%), academic/degree/certificate programs (45%), personal/professional networking (43%), and corporate-sponsored leadership training programs (42%) are available to women.
Additionally, more than a third of respondents (36%) cited that their organisation does not provide any formal or informal mentoring or sponsorship programme for women managers and leaders.
“The largest proportion of responses (66%) indicates that organisations are primarily targeting mid-level leaders for women-specific programs,” the report stated.
“Organisations need to make greater strides and commit to developing women throughout their career cycles. While development is needed at all levels – it is particularly important for organizations to assess how they are choosing senior leaders and what can be done to provide equal access for women at the highest levels of leadership.”
Apart from the lack of opportunities, another reason as to why women aren’t getting enough leadership development opportunities might be because they simply aren’t aware of the opportunities available (27%).
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