In 2022, Grant Thornton’s Women in Business research has once again tracked the position of women in senior management across the world, and the progress towards gender parity in leadership.
Our 2021 Women in Business report identified a window of opportunity created by post-pandemic working practices that were enabling more women to move into senior roles. In 2022, as economies slowly recover and the worst impacts of the pandemic recede, that trend looks set to continue.
In this year’s data, we see mid-market businesses across the world taking decisive action to mould more flexible working practices around the needs of their people. They say that they are prioritising employee engagement and modelling open, inclusive working environments. By so doing, organisations are opening the door to bring female talent into senior positions in greater numbers than ever before.
“It is essential for companies to become more equal,” says Anna Johnson, CEO of Grant Thornton Sweden. “It is a requirement for being attractive to both customers and employees. Gender equality is something we as leaders must prioritise every day, in every decision we make.”
Deliberate, continued action by businesses has resulted in an increase in the proportion of women in senior management around the globe. Women now hold 32% of top leadership positions, up from 31% in 2021. These include chief executive officer and managing director, chief finance officer, chief information officer, chief operations officer, chief marketing officer and human resources director roles. The increase continues the linear growth plotted over recent years. In the last decade, we have seen the proportion of female leaders grow by 11 percentage points, up from 21% in 2012.
Across the 5,000 business leaders in 29 countries surveyed by Grant Thornton, 90% record their business as having at least one woman in the C-suite or equivalent. Regionally, there has also been positive progress, with every area we report on equalling or passing 30% of senior roles held by women.