Company Culture is Key to Unlocking Gender Equality and Narrowing Pay Gap

Company Culture is Key to Unlocking Gender Equality and Narrowing Pay Gap

Company Culture is Key to Unlocking Gender Equality and Narrowing Pay Gap

The FINANCIAL -- New research from Accenture has identified 40 workplace factors that create a culture of equality – including 14 factors that matter the most. The research, published on March 6 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 1,400 in the United States – 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 Julie Sweet, Accenture’s chief executive officer – North America. “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.”

Accenture’s research found that in companies where the 40 factors are most common, everyone benefits:

98 percent of employees are satisfied with their career progression
90 percent of employees aspire to get promoted
89 percent aspire to become senior leaders in their organizations

And, everyone has a better opportunity to advance:

Women are 42 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and five times as likely to advance to senior manager/director or above.

Men are 20 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 the U.S. were like those in which the 40 factors are most common:

For every 100 male managers, there could be as many as 87 female managers, up from the current ratio of 100 to 65.

Women’s pay could increase 52 percent, or up to an additional $20,000 per year.

Women could earn $94 for every $100 a man earns, helping to close the pay gap and lifting women’s total earnings by $202 billion nationwide.

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 U.S. findings in the three categories include:

Bold leadership: Women are twice as likely to be on the fast track in organizations which have published a diversity target (19 percent compared to 10 percent).

Comprehensive action: Involvement in a women’s network correlates with women’s advancement, but the vast majority (81 percent) of the women surveyed for the report work for organizations without such a network. In companies that have a women’s network, six in 10 women (62 percent) participate, with more than two-thirds (69 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.