November 6, 2014 – Women, who continue to be underrepresented at most levels in the workforce, are not progressing in their careers despite two decades of organizational efforts to achieve gender diversity and equality, according to new global research from consultants Mercer. According to the study’s findings, if the current approaches continue unchanged, only one-third of executive positions will be held by women over the next 10 years. In the mature economies of the U.S. and Canada, however, just one-fourth of women will hold executive positions by 2024, while female representation in developing countries is expected to grow more rapidly. Despite making up 41 percent of the workforce globally, women’s highest representation among all career levels is in support staff roles. Women make up 40 percent of the workforce at the professional level and 36 percent at the managerial level, but only 26 percent of senior managers and 19 percent of executives. Mercer’s research also revealed that the active involvement of senior leaders in gender diversity leads to greater, accelerated representation of women in executive roles more so than accountability alone. Yet just more than half (56 percent) of organizations indicate that their senior executives are actively involved in diversity and inclusion programs. “While the diversity efforts of the past several decades have resulted in some improvements in women’s participation rates and career trajectories, our research shows that we’re still decades away from true gender equality – if we keep doing what we’re doing,” said Pat Milligan, president of Mercer’s North America region.
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