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Why Aren’t More CEOs Women? 4 Ways Corporations Can Clear The Path.

women CEOs

Why Aren’t More CEOs Women? 4 Ways Corporations Can Clear The Path.

While more women are rising to the top of the corporate ladder, a question persists: Why do female  CEOs still comprise a small percentage of the highest leadership positions?
Research underscores women’s capabilities as corporate leaders and their positive effects on organizations. An extensive worldwide survey showed that having women at the C-suite level significantly increases profit margins. And a study by the Harvard Business Review reported women scoring higher than men in most leadership skills.
But research also partly sheds light on why women aren’t proportionately represented in corporate leadership roles. Reasons include male-dominated corporate boards and leadership stereotypes. Not to mention that women, in addition to having the bulk of at-home family responsibilities, can be seen as threatening to men when in leadership positions.
How can more women ascend to executive positions? Andreas Wilderer, author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women In Leadership, says it starts at home with a supportive husband willing to take on more of a household role while not worrying about reverse stereotypes – the stay-at-home dad or secondary breadwinner.
“Even though society is getting used to strong women in the workplace, men who take care of the house and kids are still often seen as an oddity,” Wilderer says. “Old attitudes in society fade slowly, as many still believe that each sex should keep its place.”
“In many families, however, that place is changing. Change tends to begin not in the big arenas, but in small places. And change starts within the family unit – long before many corporations and institutions recognize what is happening. Now more and more men are proudly accepting the role of staying home to fully support their wives and their career pursuits, and it’s time more companies were supportive of women in well-earned leadership roles.”
Wilderer suggests four ways companies can make leadership opportunities more accessible to women:
-Gender equality training. “With evidence proving that women make excellent leaders,” Wilderer says, “it is clear that not having these qualified individuals in leadership positions is a detriment to your business. Gender equality training within a company is a transformative process that enables women to be assessed on the basis of their skills, not restricted from upward movement by their gender.”
-Gender equality training 2.0. Wilderer says normal bias training needs to go an extra step, emphasizing how companies can show support for male partners and the family of the female leader. For example, when companies sponsor events such as dinners for employees, they often buy gifts for spouses attending. Wilderer says an important cultural shift can occur in the form of a gift. “It’s a cultural shift to not assume that the spouse of a leader is a female,” Wilderer says. “You can no longer make that assumption. Companies should make the gifts gender-neutral, emphasizing the importance of the supportive spousal role.”
-Recruiting. A company’s commitment to promote women’s advancements from within starts in the recruiting process. “Recruiting women on the premises of equal opportunity provisions is the first step to help women rise to important positions,” Wilderer says. “Organizations should issue meaningful equality plans to absorb women members in proportion to men.”
-Career-mapping. “Organizations should have an effective career-mapping plan in place for female employees,” Wilderer says. “Being aware of higher-level opportunities within the organization and the path required to achieve them helps women to set out clearer plans for attaining these roles.”
“Ingrained attitudes take years to evolve into acceptance,” Wilderer says. “Acceptance starts with simple gestures like the gifts but has to go much further – flexible hours, provided daycare, a partial home office. As far as women have come in the corporate structure, there are still too many barriers, and too few of them get to fulfill their potential as leaders.”
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Andreas Wilderer (andreaswilderer.com) is the author of Lean On: The Five Pillars Of Support For Women in Leadership. A business leader and entrepreneur, Wilderer worked in the event and marketing field. As Gallup-certified CliftonStrengths Coach he founded GLOBULARiTY LLC, a business coaching company that helps leaders grow and learn how to strengthen their Adaptability Quotient (AQ). While working on his business pursuits, Wilderer stayed at home and cared for his two children while his wife pursued her career. Recognizing that women can be providers and men can be nurturers, Wilderer began focusing on coaching female leaders while teaching men how to actively support them. As a motivational Keynote speaker, he is advocating for females in leadership and the system they can Lean On.
2020

Survey: Business Leaders Start 2020 with Lingering Concerns About Talent Shortages & Recession Risk

A new survey reveals that the world’s chief executives view the risk of a recession as their biggest external concern in 2020. Attracting and retaining talent ranks as their top internal concern. They also feel unsettled by trade uncertainty, political instability, and more intense competition from disruptive technologies. However,
they plan to counter such forces by developing more innovative cultures and new business models.

Conducted annually since 1999 by The Conference Board, this year’s survey gauged nearly 750 CEOs and nearly 800 other C-Suite executives from mainly four regions: Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States. As part of the survey, participants weighed in on which external and internal issues warrant the most immediate attention in 2020.

External Concerns in 2020

Recession fears top the list

Global: For the 2nd year in a row, CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank a recession as their top external worry
in the year ahead.

US: For US CEOs, a recession rose from being their 3rd biggest concern in 2019 to their top one in 2020. The issue surpassed cybersecurity, their top concern in 2019.

Elsewhere: A recession also tops the list of concerns of Chinese and European CEOs, and is the runner-up for Latin American and Japanese CEOs.

Widespread concern over trade uncertainty

Global: CEOs globally rank uncertainty about global trade as their 2nd biggest external worry in 2020.

US: It ranks as the 4th biggest worry of US CEOs, tied with its affiliate issue: global political instability.

China: Chinese CEOs rank trade uncertainty as their top worry, tied with their fear of a recession.

Latin America and Europe: CEOs there rank it 1st and 3rd, respectively.

Chinese CEOs feeling the effects of economic sanctions

China: Chinese CEOs rank the effects of economic sanctions as their 5th biggest external worry, tied with the issue of more demanding customers. Their concern about sanctions is the highest-ranking by any country by a big margin.

What it reveals about US-China trade tensions: The role technology plays in this conflict is deep and enduring. Tariffs are likely to be temporary and easily subject to negotiation, but technology blockades, via economic sanctions, are not.

Competition intensifies

Global: For CEOs globally, fiercer competition rose from being their 4th top external worry in 2019 to their 3rd in 2020.

US: For two years in a row, US CEOs cite the issue as their 2nd top external worry.

China: For Chinese CEOs, concerns about fiercer competition rose from being their 7th in 2019 to their 3rd in 2020.

Cybersecurity budgets increase, but strategy remains elusive

Bigger budgets: More than 70% of responding CEOs globally plan to increase their cybersecurity budgets in 2020.

But unclear strategy: Almost 40% of responding CEOs globally say their organizations lack a clear strategy to deal with the financial and reputational impact of a cyber-attack or data breach.

Climate change heats up

Global: For 2020, CEOs globally ranked the impact of climate change on their business as 9th, up from 11th in 2019.

Driving the momentum: CEOs in Latin America (4th, up from 10th in 2019) and Europe (8th, up from 13th in 2019).

“The ongoing concerns about recession risk among business leaders reflect the slowing economy of the past year and the uncertainties about the outcome of the trade disputes and other policy concerns,” said Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “However, given a slightly better outlook for the global economy and an easing of trade tensions, we anticipate that a drumbeat of negative sentiment – which can become a self-fulling prophecy – can be avoided, and that we  will see more confidence about business prospects in 2020.”

Internal Concerns in 2020

The number-one priority: attracting and retaining top talent

-Widespread agreement: Regardless of a company’s location or size, attracting and retaining top talent ranks as the number-one internal stressor for CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally in 2020.

-What’s intensifying the talent battle? A tight labor market, among other issues. CEOs globally, for example, cite the tight labor market as their 5th biggest external worry in the year ahead.

Developing innovative products and cultures are a key focus

Create new business models because of disruptive technologies: CEOs and other C-suite executives globally rank it their 2nd top internal priority.

Create a more innovative culture: CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank it their 3rd top internal priority.

Widespread commitment to cultivating leaders for the future

Global: CEOs and other C-Suite executives globally rank developing “next-gen” leaders as their 4th top internal priority.

Japan: Japanese CEOs rank this issue as their number-one internal priority, ahead of all other internal issues.

Women C-Suite executives more concerned about equal pay for equal work

Women: Globally, implementing equal pay for equal work ranked as their 6th top internal priority.

Men: Globally, the issue ranked as their 15th top internal priority.

“The global challenge in acquiring and retaining talent requires companies to be more strategic – knowing not only what qualities and skills to recruit for, but also how to recruit more efficiently and effectively,” said Rebecca Lea Ray, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board. “To support such efforts, they can consider leveraging artificial intelligence, a valuable tool when used with the proper understanding and safeguards.”

Mature-Market CEOs vs Emerging-Market CEOs

The survey results reveal much agreement between CEOs in mature economies (436 respondents) and emerging markets (304 respondents). But, some stark differences exist when it comes to which issues they plan to prioritize in 2020.

3 External Differences

Tight labor market
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 3rd biggest external concern. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 10th.

Uncertainty about global trade
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their number-one external concern. Mature-market CEOs rank it 4th.

Declining trust in political and policy institutions
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their 5th top external concern. Mature-market CEOs rank it 8th.

3 Internal Differences

Create new business models because of disruptive technologies
-Emerging-market CEOs rank the issue as their 2nd top internal priority. Mature-market CEOs rank it 4th.

Manage mergers and acquisitions
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 7th top internal priority. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 12th.

Build a more inclusive culture
-Mature-market CEOs rank the issue as their 8th top internal priority. Emerging-market CEOs rank it 16th.

“When it comes to creating new business models because of disruptive technologies, there is more urgency among  emerging-market CEOs than those in more mature economies,” said Chuck Mitchell, Executive Director of Knowledge,  Content, and Quality at The Conference Board. “This should raise a warning flag about possible complacency considering the current speed of disruption. The truth is that, today, companies no longer enjoy the luxury of a decades-long lead time to adapt to the digital revolution.”

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Media can contact The Conference Board for a copy of the full survey results.

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, they
are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States. www.conferenceboard.org

Republished with permission