We still have a long way to go

Home / blog / We still have a long way to go

Until I opened my email this morning I was going to focus on a completely different topic which I have placed on the “backburner” for another time in favour of sharing key findings from the McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2016[1] that arrived in my inbox yesterday morning.

While findings in the 2016 McKinsey Report are based on data gathered from US corporations I am sure we can draw similar conclusions for Australia. This report is of particular interest to the Viventé Australia team given the work we have undertaken with women in leadership over the last twelve years. While there have been gains, this report‘s findings suggest we still have a long way to go.

The data in the McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2016[2] Report is drawn from 132 companies employing more than 4.6 million people who shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, 34,000 employees completed a survey designed to uncover their attitudes on gender, job satisfaction, ambition, and work-life issues.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Promotion rates for women lag behind those of men, and the disparity is largest at the first step up to manager. For every 100 women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted.
  • Women get less access to the people and opportunities that advance careers, and are disadvantaged in many of their daily interactions. Women experience an uneven playing field.
  • Women who negotiate for a promotion or compensation increase are 30% more likely than men who negotiate to receive feedback that they are “bossy,” “too aggressive,” or “intimidating.”
  • By the time women reach the SVP level, they hold just 20% of line roles, and line roles lead more directly to the C-suite: in 2015, 90% of new CEOs in the S&P 500 were promoted or hired from line roles. Very few women are in line to become CEO.
  • Despite asking for informal feedback as often as men do, women report they receive it less frequently. Moreover, there appears to be a disconnect in the way managers convey difficult feedback. Most managers say they rarely hesitate to give difficult feedback to both women and men, but women report they receive it less frequently.
  • Women and men both view sponsorship by senior leaders as essential for success. Yet women report fewer substantive interactions with senior leaders than their male counterparts do — and this gap widens as women and men advance.
  • Only 40% of women are interested in becoming top executives, compared to 56% of men. Women and men worry equally about work-life balance and company politics. However, women with and without children are more likely to say they don’t want the pressure, and women who want a top job anticipate a steeper path than men who do.

McKinsey in their report suggest that while there is no “one size fits” all approach there are five steps to advance gender diversity.

  1. Make a compelling case for gender diversity.
  2. Ensuring hiring, promotions, and reviews are fair.
  3. Invest in more employee training.
  4. Focus on accountability and results.
  5. Ensure employees have the flexibility to fit work into their lives.

While Viventé Australia doesn’t have a “silver bullet” solution, our continuing work with women in leadership programs include:

  • Executive Leadership Coaching for Senior Women
  • Mentoring Programs for Women
  • Pathways2Leadership® for Women Program.

We recommend reading the full McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2016 Report. https://womenintheworkplace.com. If we, at Viventé can assist please contact us.

Viventé Australia enables leaders and managers to create the conditions that allow their people to do their best work every day thus creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its outcomes.


[1] McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2016 https://womenintheworkplace.com

[2] McKinsey Women in the Workplace 2016 https://womenintheworkplace.com