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Company Culture key to unlocking gender equality and narrowing pay gap

Payal Vasudeva
wage

There’s 40 workplace factors that create a culture of equality — including 14 factors that matter the most. The research, published today in the company’s “Getting to Equal 2018” report, details the most-effective actions that business leaders can take to accelerate advancement and help close the gender pay gap. Contributor Payal Vasudeva, Executive Sponsor for Human Capital and Diversity – Accenture.

The research is based on a survey of more than 22,000 working men and women in 34 countries – including more than 700 in the UK – to measure their perception of factors that contribute to their workplace cultures. The survey was supplemented with in-depth interviews and a detailed analysis of published data on a range of workforce issues.

“Our research highlights the key role workplace culture plays in unlocking gender equality,” said Payal Vasudeva – Executive Sponsor for Human Capital and Diversity – Accenture, in the UK and Ireland. “When you create a workplace environment that enables women to advance, everyone benefits – men and women. It also drives true inclusion, underpinned by diversity of thought, which is a source of innovation, creativity and competitive advantage for businesses”.

Accenture’s research found that in companies where the 40 factors are most common, everyone benefits: 99 percent of employees are satisfied with their career progression; 94 percent of employees aspire to get promoted; 94 percent aspire to become senior leaders in their organisations.

And, everyone has a better opportunity to advance: Women are 15 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and three times as likely to advance to senior manager/director or above. Men are 7 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and 109 percent more likely to advance to senior manager/director or above. While both women and men advance in companies in which the 40 factors are common, women have the most to gain. If all working environments in the UK were like those in which the 40 factors are most common:

For every 100 male managers, there could be as many as 86 female managers, up from the current ratio of 100 to 56. Women’s pay could increase by 64 percent, or up to an additional £23,601 ($32,702) per year. Women could earn $93 for every $100 a man earns (up from $62 for every $100 a man earns currently), helping to close the pay gap and lifting women’s total earnings by $57.8 billion nationwide.

Setting clear diversity targets, the research found, is a crucial step for leaders who want to strengthen their cultures. Culture is set from the top, so if women are to advance, gender equality must be a strategic priority for the C-suite,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership & human resources officer. “It’s critical that companies create a truly human environment where people can be successful both professionally and personally – where they can be who they are and feel they belong, every day.”

The report, which builds on Accenture’s 2017 research on how digital fluency and technology can close the gender gap in the workplace, grouped the 14 core factors proven to influence advancement into three categories of bold leadership, comprehensive action and an empowering environment. Key UK findings in the three categories include:

Bold leadership: Women are 50 percent more likely to be on the fast track in organisations which have published a diversity target (30 percent compared to 20 percent).

Comprehensive action: Involvement in a women’s network correlates with women’s advancement, but a large proportion (57 percent) of the women surveyed for the report work for organisations without such a network. Two thirds of women (66 percent) on the fast track are in a women’s network compared with 39 percent of all women, with over a third (34 percent) of fast-track women participating in a women’s network that also includes men.

An empowering environment: Among the factors linked to advancement are giving employees the freedom to be innovative and creative and providing the right training to keep their skills relevant.