Despite the efforts we know exist in many companies and industry associations, minority group representation in C-suites, boards, and other senior positions remains persistently low. According to McKinsey’s 2022 Women in the Workplace study, white men make up 33% of entry-level employees but 61% of the C-suite. Women occupy 48% of entry-level positions, but only 26% of the C-suite.
There are many things that don’t allow this process to evolve faster. In today’s weekly blog we share some insights from two articles that investigate this topic which we think are worth reading.
For McKinsey, one of the key issues is that the leadership pipeline increases for those in majority groups but decreases for underrepresented ones. This means that for every 100 men promoted from entry level to manager, only 87 women are promoted. This continues to occur at each level, and women can never catch up.
For Elizabeth Weingarten and Liz Kofman-Burns (DEI specialists who have written articles for HBR), a big issue is the inequitable way leadership development opportunities are allocated. They believe that choosing candidates for leadership development programs is done informally, and that this exposes these programs to manager biases. This would mean that the right tools are already available, but not being correctly used.
To add to that, representation is also affected by the fact that women’s retention numbers are going down:
- 48% of women who switch jobs do so because of low opportunity to grow
- 20% due to poor flexibility
- 18% because of the lack of commitment to DEI
- 22% because of unsupportive managers
- 17% due to unmanageable workload
How could this be avoided (or at least tampered down)?
It is crucial to consider designing new programs and relaunching old ones to equally distribute opportunities. HBR’s article recommends four steps for a more equitable selection process:
- Identify all the opportunities that exist in your company for leadership development. Pay special attention to those that are being assigned informally.
- Clearly define the qualifications needed for each of the different opportunities you list with measurable evaluation criteria.
- Communicate both the development opportunities and the necessary qualifications to everyone across the organization.
- Create a strong, clear, and formal selection process that encourages fair and transparent evaluation of all employees.
Solving DEI issues will not be easy, but it is important to thoroughly analyze when an initiative has been around for a while why it isn’t delivering the results that it could potentially deliver. Sometimes the issue is not the initiative itself, but the details of execution.
I hope you found this interesting. As usual, if there is anything we can help you with, or if there is an ESG topic you would like to know more about, please let us know.
CEO, Miranda ESG
Contacts at Miranda Partners