Company Culture is Key to Unlocking Gender Equality and Narrowing Pay Gap, New Accenture Research Finds
New research has identified 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.
The research is based on a survey of more than 22,000 working men and women in 34 countries — including more than 712 in Canada — 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 shows that in companies with cultures that include the workplace factors that help women advance, men thrive too, and we all rise together," said Claudia Thompson, managing director, Health and Public Service and lead for inclusion and diversity in Canada. "We see this research as a powerful reminder that building a culture of equality is essential to achieving gender equality because people, not programs, are what make a company inclusive and diverse."
The research found that in companies where the 40 factors are most common, everyone benefits:
• 100 percent of employees are satisfied with their career progression
• 96 percent of employees aspire to get promoted
• 95 percent aspire to become senior leaders in their organizations
And, everyone has a better opportunity to advance:
• Women are 38 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and five times as likely to advance to senior manager/director or above.
• Men are 29 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and twice as 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 Canada were like those in which the 40 factors are most common:
• For every 100 male managers, there could be as many as 94 female managers, up from the current ratio of 100 to 53.
• Women's pay could increase 39 percent, or up to an additional USD $26,627 per year.
• Women could earn USD $95 for every USD $100 a man earns, helping to close the pay gap and lifting women's total earnings by USD $28 billion in Canada.
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 Canadian findings in the three categories include:
• Bold leadership: Women are more likely to be on the fast track in organizations where leadership teams are held accountable, both internally and externally, for improving gender diversity (58 percent compared to 39 percent).
• Comprehensive action: Involvement in a women's network correlates with women's advancement, but nearly two-in-three (65 percent) women surveyed for the report work for organizations without such a network. In companies that have a women's network, 86 percent of women participate, with three-quarters (76 percent) of those women in a women's network that also includes men.
• An empowering environment: Among the factors linked to advancement are not asking employees to conform to a dress or appearance code, and giving employees the responsibility and freedom to be innovative and creative.