McKinsey’s 2019 Women in the Workplace report is a must-read for employers who are struggling to shift the dial on gender balance. It explains why progress in gender parity is moving at a glacial pace. The biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is at the first step up to manager. This early inequality has a long-term impact on the talent pipeline. Since men significantly outnumber women at the manager level, there are significantly fewer women to hire or promote to senior managers. The number of women decreases at every subsequent level. So even as hiring and promotion rates improve for women at senior levels, women as a whole can never catch up. This research is groundbreaking because, for many companies, diversity efforts in hiring and promotions are focused at senior levels, but the report suggests that companies need to apply the same rigour to addressing the broken rung. Fixing it will set off a positive chain reaction across the entire pipeline. To fix the broken rung to ultimately drive gender parity, McKinsey proposes five steps:
- Set a goal for getting more women into first-level management
- Require diverse slates for hiring and promotions
- Put evaluators through unconscious bias training
- Establish clear evaluation criteria
- Put more women in line for the step up to manager
Download the report here.