Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy
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“We are having real conversations now about getting more women into every level of our organizations and onto boards, and that’s a good thing. But we need to get beyond conversations. We need to get to the point where every CEO believes that if we don’t do this, we will lose relevance and customers, and realize that competitors who are embracing diversity will win.”
— Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom
In the innovation economy, if you want to discover a way to gain an advantage that’s hiding in plain sight, we have good news and bad news.
The good news is that a growing body of research shows that increasing the number of women leaders can be key to your company’s future success. More good news? There are women either in your company or available to be recruited right now who are ready, willing, and able to take up the challenge of learning to lead in the digital economy.
The bad news is that most companies aren’t doing much of anything that’s substantive or creative to capitalize on this critically important resource. If company leaders were, they wouldn’t be facing the embarrassing gender talent gap that now exists in executive ranks at companies around the world.
Women represent more than 47% of the corporate workforce, but at the C-suite level, that number drops significantly. Ultimately, so many promising young women never reach the most influential corporate roles. Quest, a nonprofit research center in Lexington, Massachusetts, that focuses on early career female talent, conducted research that indicates a breakdown in hiring and developing women for managerial and leadership roles once they cross the early stages of their career. According to Quest’s research, both line-of-business and talent managers make assumptions that limit young women’s career and professional advancement opportunities, such as women may be unwilling to travel or that starting a family will lead them to opt out of challenging roles.
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While the corporate world has made progress in advancing women’s careers in leadership positions, there is still a long way to go in achieving true gender equality in the workplace. Shouldn’t every company want to cast as wide a net as possible to attract and develop the best and brightest talent available? In some cultures, this remains a debate. For most companies, though, it is a challenge that leaders can address and solve.