Mercer's second annual Where Women Thrive report found that women make up 40% of the average company’s workforce. Globally they represent 33% of managers, 26% of senior managers and 20% of executives.
The researchers anticipate Latin America having the best female representation at the professional career level by 2025, at 49%. Europe is expected to remain static at 37%, while globally the percentage is forecast to rise from 35% to 40%.
Asia is expected to make the least progress. Its comparatively low female representation at the professional level in 2015 of 25% is predicted to reach just 28% by 2025.
Only 57% of organisations say their senior leaders are engaged in diversity and inclusion initiatives, with the US and Canada ranking highest. Male employees' engagement with diversity and inclusion schemes has dropped since 2014; 38% now state they are engaged compared to 49% previously.
Additionally, just 9% of organisations worldwide offer female-focused retirement and savings programmes, despite Mercer research indicating such efforts lead to greater representation of women.
Brian Levine, innovation leader for global workforce analytics at Mercer, warned that creating a “band-aid programme” is not good enough. “Most companies aren’t focused on the complete talent pipeline, nor are they focused on the supporting practices and cultural change critical to ensure that women will be successful in their organisations,” he said.
Pat Milligan, global leader for Mercer’s When Women Thrive initiative, said that if CEOs want to drive growth through diversity they have to start today. “The traditional methods of advancing women aren’t moving the needle,” she said. “While leaders have been focusing on women at the top they’re largely ignoring the female talent pipelines so critical to maintaining progress.
“This is a call to action. Every organisation has a choice to stay with the status quo or drive their own growth, communities and economies through the power of women.”