Are women really making progress in business?

The progress of women in the business world is an age old topic of debate but one which remains relevant even as the proportion of women in the workplace and specifically in executive roles rises.

An update on the latest statistics 

report published a few years ago recommended that FTSE 100 companies should aim for a minimum of 25% female representation on their boards by 2015.  The latest figures show that women now hold 17.3% of board positions, so the percentage is gradually increasing, as women make their mark in the business world.

The good news is that companies within South Africa are holding their own against the FTSE companies, with similarly increasing statistics.  According to the 2012 Women in Leadership census conducted by the Business Women’s Association, whilst making up 52%of the population in SA, women hold 17.1 % of directorship positions, 21.4% of executive management positions,  and only 5.5% and 3.6% of chairpersons and CEO roles respectively. 

There is clearly still a long way to go to achieve a truly representative business leadership demographic , and there is no doubt that women need to work at overcoming stereotypes in the work place – whilst also balancing partners’ career needs, children and family obligations with the achievement of their own career goals. 

The income gap – Why women earn less!

Leading on from last month’s debate of women’s progress in the business world, another relevant topic is wage disparity between men and women globally. This is not just a gender equality issue, but one which has a real effect on the economy.

Statistics from the World Economic Forum Report sourced from Equal Wages, Better GDP,  in Fortune Magazine (October 2012) emphasize the importance of equal wages by commenting that a country’s competitiveness is judged by its human capital.  If the female half of the workforce is ignored, the economy and GDP suffers.

Income Statistics

Looking at female earned income as a percentage of male income, women in the US earn equally to their male counterparts, women in Brazil, China, Canada and Russia earn between 60% and 80% of their male counterparts’ income, and women in India earn only 20% to 40%.  South Africa ranks in the 40% - 60% category, which represents a significant decline since 2010 when, according to the January 2010 edition of Fair Lady, as sourced in ‘Deal Diva’ by Kim Meredith, the wage gap between South African men and women was only 25%.

Talent crunch hampers business expansion [survey]

In a global survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, results show that 24% of CEO's globally have directed delays or indeed cancellations on key strategic corporate initiatives due to talent shortages. It is no surprise that skills shortages are a 'top threat' to business growth and in a developing country like India, a sibling to South Africa in the BRICS, it is one of the top strategic issues. The article below, published in the Business Standard, outlines some of the reactions of Indian executives and the key industries affected. 

'41% CEOs in India delayed plans due to talent crunch'

About 41 per cent of chief executive officers (CEO) in India have cancelled or delayed a key strategic initiative because of skills shortage, an annual global CEO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) states. In China, the figure stood at 31 per cent, while it was 24 per cent globally. However, the chief executives are optimistic about the availability of talent.

Unemployment, skills shortages and wages

Unemployment in South Africa has reached approximately 23.9 percent. There is absolutely no doubt that there is a critical skills shortage in our job market for specialist skills but could there be more to the the problem of talent for employers?

While we do not wish to extrapolate to South Africa from one of the worlds biggest economies, the UK, unemployment in Britain has reached 2.65m.  Employers in Britain, however, regularly bemoan the lack of skilled applicants.  A report recently released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows that employers are not offering sufficiently attractive financial offers to candidates and that is why they cannot attract or retain the staff they need.

The article below was originally published in the Telegraph:

Do skills shortages really exist when so many people are out of work?

Employers admit they are offering too little pay to attract the best workers for jobs - a key reason why they struggle to recruit staff aside from so-called 'skills shortages'. Skills shortages often take the blame when employers say they cannot recruit the right staff for available jobs. Businesses claim the education system is failing to produce “work-ready” candidates, while specialist, senior roles can go unfilled for months because of the so-called dearth of expertise.

Three questions recruiters must ask

In the article below Maxwell asks three critical questions of candidates for the presidency of the US Government.  We at Fusion Consulting don't interview candidates for president (although we'd love to) but we do interview people who must be decisive and passionate leaders in their new positions. 

We ask slightly modified versions of the questions below, namely:

 - How can you help my client?
 - What motivates you?
 - What's your track record?

These questions sort out the excellent from the adequate, the qualified from the passionate, because we live in a world where candidates need to be more than able, they need to be superb.

Please read this article by John Maxwell below on "Three Questions for Candidates".