The research is based on a survey of more than 22,000 working men and women in 34 countries — including more than 700 across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) — 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.
“Culture is set from the top, so if women are to advance, gender equality must be a strategic priority for the C-suite,” said Bob Easton, Accenture Australia & New Zealand Chairman. “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 grouped the core factors proven to influence advancement into three categories of bold leadership, comprehensive action and an empowering environment. Key ANZ findings in the three categories include:
- Bold leadership: Women are more than twice as likely to be on the fast track in organisations where leadership teams are held accountable for improving gender diversity (75 percent compared to 36 percent).
- Comprehensive action: Approximately three-quarters of employees work in organisations with a clear maternity policy in place and where women are encouraged to take leave. While fewer employees (50 percent) work in organisations where men are encouraged to take paternity leave.
- 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 (50 percent) and freedom to be innovative and creative.
“We see this research as a powerful reminder that building a culture of respect for individuals is essential to achieving gender equality because people, not programs, are what make a company inclusive and diverse,” said Mr Easton.
Accenture’s research also found that in companies in ANZ with clear diversity initiatives:
- 97 percent of employees are satisfied with their career progression
- 86 percent of employees aspire to get promoted
- 74 percent aspire to become senior leaders in their organisations