More women are in senior management roles

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To mark International Women?s Day 2013 on 8 March, research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) reveals more women are going into senior management than at any time since 2010.

However, progress is slower in the G7 group of developed economies, where economic performances have been stuttering, than in the high growth economies of Asia and the Far East.

IBR data shows that globally, 24% of senior management roles are now filled by women. This is up from 21% in 2012 and 20% in 2011. However, the G7 economies come bottom of the league table with just 21% of senior roles occupied by women. This compares to 28% in the BRIC economies, 32% in South East Asia and 40% in the Baltic states.

Japan (7% of senior roles occupied by women, the worst performer), the UK (19%) and the USA (20%) are in the bottom eight countries for women in senior management. These economies are also experiencing low levels of growth, with GDP in Japan (1.9%), the UK (-0.1) and the USA (2.2%) in 2012 all modest. In contrast, top of the table for women in senior management is China, with 51%. GDP growth for 2012 there is expected to be between 7-8%. The top 10 also contains the growth economies of Latvia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.

The situation is even starker when looking at boardroom positions. In the G7, just 16% of board members are women. This compares to 26% in the BRIC economies and 38% in the Baltic states.

How to get more women in senior roles?

The IBR data reveals that flexible working, while welcomed by many, does not appear to be a determining factor in getting women into top positions. 72% of businesses in the poor-performing G7 countries provide flexible working, while in top of the table China only 27% of businesses offer flexible working, and only 40% in the BRIC economies.

In addition, 55% of businesses worldwide said they would be against the idea of quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies.

Francesca Lagerberg, Head of tax at Grant Thornton UK and incoming Global leader of Tax at Grant Thornton International Ltd, added: ?Things are heading in the right direction, but it is slow progress. Flexible working is not the only determining factor in increasing female participation in senior positions. In mature economies, the majority of businesses offer it but that isn?t translating into more women in senior roles or making it on to the board. At the same time, businesses are telling us that they do not believe enforced quotas are the answer.”

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson