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Posted by on in Sex Discrimination
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Survey reveals women are under-represented at board level

Despite commitment from the EU to improve the number of women on executive boards, data issued by Mercer has shown that women continue to be under-represented in senior executive and management positions across Europe.

 

According to the data, the ratio of senior executives and managers that were female averages 29% in countries across Europe, compared to 71% of men. ‘Executives’ are defined here as a person who sits on a company board while 'manager' is defined as someone holding a ‘country head’ or ‘business unit head’ role.

Mercer has also revealed that despite organisations’ efforts to achieve a diverse workforce, the majority (71%) do not have a clearly defined strategy or philosophy for the development of women into leadership roles.

“Women’s representation on company boards is a big issue and there is substantial noise in the EU about board diversity," said Sophie Black, Principal in Mercer’s Executive Remuneration team. "It’s not just an issue of gender, of course, although discrimination in any form is undesirable. It’s also an issue of talent as this sort of bias in a company limits the candidate pool and skill set. A more diverse workforce reduces turnover and absenteeism and increase innovation and creativity.”

“Anecdotally during times of recent economic growth, we saw many companies giving specific remits to headhunters for more female executives. This trend has fallen away as the economy has deteriorated which suggests that many companies view it as a luxury for the good times. This is short-sighted,“ concluded Ms Black. “Companies’ failure to improve female representation of on their own will simply result in governments feeling that they have to regulate the issue to effect change.”

 

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