Why are there so few women at the top of Professional Service Firms?

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Following on from Debbie Dudley’s previous 2017 point of view looking at ‘Why are there so few women at the top of Professional Services Firms?’ we decided to look at more up to date statistics.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest Global Gender Gap Index, which benchmarks 146 countries, it calculated that in 2022 the gender gap was closed by 68.1 percent. The report stated that it would take 132 years to achieve complete equality at the present rate of progress—a four-year improvement on the 2021 projection.

Scandinavian countries currently lead the way, with Iceland the only economy to have closed more than 90 percent of the gender gap.

The top 5 rankings of countries in 2022:  

  1. Iceland (90 percent)
  2. Finland (86 percent)
  3. Norway (84.5 percent)
  4. New Zealand (84.1 percent)
  5. Sweden (82.2 percent)

Many top-rated countries have imposed targeted laws to speed up gender equality. A key example is pay parity. Organisations have an essential role to play too although many of the challenges are societal. Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the Geneva-headquartered WEF explains that “While more women have been moving into paid work over the last decades and, increasingly, into leadership positions in industry, there have been continued headwinds: societal expectations, employer policies, the legal environment, and the availability of care infrastructure.”

Another research finding highlights a worrying trend. A report by Deloitte ‘Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook’ , states that women are reporting stress and burnout at alarming levels. 46% of the 5000 women surveyed across 10 countries reported feeling burned out.

We still have a long way to go both in society and within organisations if we are going to create favourable conditions for women to succeed.

You can read Debbie’s original point of view and other relevant topics by clicking the related article below.