The number of women in management roles has reached a record high, according to research by Grant Thornton.
The firm’s annual Women and Business Report, which surveyed almost 5,000 businesses in 29 different sectors, shows that the number of women holding senior positions in medium-sized companies has grown to 32% – the highest it’s been since 2004. These results show a steady increase in women holding high-level positions in UK businesses, with only 2% of respondents saying they have no women in senior management roles.
Female CEOs on the Rise
The report also found that the number of women in CEO positions had also grown significantly, with 31% of those surveyed having a female Chief Executive Officer in 2022, compared to 26% last year, and only 3% just over a decade ago in 2012.
The most common senior roles held by women, according to the study, are HR Director (49%) and Chief Financial Officer (39%).
How the Pandemic Has Helped Women’s Careers
Discussing the findings of the study, Fiona Baldwin, Strategic Leadership Team sponsor for Gender at Grant Thornton UK LLP said, “The blurring of lines between home and work caused by lockdowns has rapidly accelerated a change of attitudes and has led to a universal acknowledgement that freedom of choice and inclusive working environments not only promote wellbeing but are more productive.”
The report revealed that 73% of surveyed businesses believe that the change in work practices due to Covid has benefited women’s career progression.
Baldwin believes the change in senior mid-market roles “is ultimately benefiting many women who, in the past, were confined by systems that did not fit with personal responsibilities.”
An Increased Focus on Diversity and Inclusivity
Despite the government pausing its gender pay gap reporting during the pandemic, many employers have evidently maintained a focus on hiring and promoting a more diverse range of people. Grant Thornton’s research found that 95% of those surveyed are either considering or actively boosting inclusivity, diversity, and employee engagement in the workplace.
Kim Schmidt, Global Leader – Leadership, People and Culture at Grant Thornton International, said the numbers are “a reflection of an awakening by leaders of how important it is to have a diverse environment, and of the stronger efforts on their part to build a more inclusive culture.”
At Knowles Warwick, we’re proud to have a team made up of two-thirds female staff, in an industry that is traditionally male-dominated, with a number of women in senior roles. We’re striving to build a more diverse and inclusive team for the benefit of both our staff and our clients.