McKinsey Special Report: 10 Years of Insights

Leaky Pipes Not Glass Ceilings Hurt Advancement of Women Executives

By Anita Estell

In October 2017, the McKinsey Company issued a downloadable report, “Women Matter: Time to Accelerate,” that summarizes and evolves 10 years of key insights related to gender parity.  For instance, 90 percent of CEOs of the top 500 corporations are promoted from line roles.  This is a challenge, as only 20 percent of women in senior vice president positions hold line roles.  Equally challenging is the fact that 195 million fewer women than men around the world are literate.

Of the insights shared, “leaky pipes” present more of a challenge than “glass ceilings.  See a chart from the report below:

[ezcol_1half]Source: McKinsey Company

The lack of parity cuts across various sectors. McKinsey concludes that without an intentional and accelerated effort, it will take 100 years to reach gender parity. Once achieved, gender parity would contribute $12 trillion to GDP.

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5 Steps that accelerate gender parity include:

  1. Provide a cascading & clear business case for change.
  2. Set and track inclusion targets, share results, and hold leaders accountable to them.
  3. Create formal sponsorship networks to help women navigate promotions at their organizations.
  4. Provide flexibility compatible with promotions, including leaves of absence, and return-to-work programs, and internships.
  5. Increase awareness of unconscious bias with formal training programs. Implement systems to de-bias recruitment, evaluation, and promotion.