The Women in Business report produced by the accountancy firm says that a ‘significant landmark’ was reached in 2021, with nine in ten businesses worldwide having at least one woman in their senior management team.
By comparison, only 66% of businesses had at least one female leader in 2017. There was a 3% increase in female representation in the upper echelons of organisation during the last year, the report found.
A key trend it says is that the number of senior female leaders has now exceeded the 30% ‘tipping point’ globally, which regional studies have indicated is when diversity culture becomes embedded.
‘Reaching this milestone is predicted to catalyse greater gender diversity in senior management and engender lasting transformational change,’ it says.
‘When broken down regionally, we see an exponential gain in the prevalence of countries with a proportion of women leaders exceeding this 30% tipping point.’
Susie Crowder, Grant Thornton CI’s human capital director, said that she thought Jersey and Guernsey were meeting this trend and were probably ahead of the curve globally.
She added: ‘I imagine that reaching this tipping point will see an acceleration of diversity in key leadership positions.
‘The data is there – diversity works. The structures are changing and I think business is changing for all the right reasons.’
The report says that 83% of countries surveyed now have at least 30% female leaders, compared to just 55% in a similar study carried out in 2020.
It adds that in certain parts of the world, notably Europe and Africa, the trend toward diversity has fared particularly well.
‘Within the overall positive trend, there are success stories for a number of regions,’ it says.
‘Africa, consistently one of the best-performing regions for female leadership, has continued its upward trajectory. Although this year’s increase is not as impressive as the 7% year-on-year lift seen in 2020, over five reporting cycles the region’s figures have improved significantly – from 29% in 2017 to 39% in 2021.
‘The European Union, meanwhile, has also seen a reasonable lift from 30% to 34%, with over a third of all senior positions now being held by women. This marks an eight-point increase since 2017.’
The percentage of female managing directors and chief executives is now 26% globally, according to the report.