View from the top - How CEOs are tackling gender within multinationals

View from the top

This report from KPMG, global business psychology firm YSC, the 30% Club and social enterprise group Why Women Work, explores key findings from the original ’Cracking the code’ research on common gender diversity myths in the workplace.

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view from the top

View from the top’ is a new report from KPMG, YSC, the 30% Club and Why Women Work that explores what is happening on a global platform to support or disprove the key findings from the original ’Cracking the code’ research that dispels common gender diversity myths in the workplace.

Two years ago, the 30% Club, YSC and KPMG produced a piece of ground breaking research called “Cracking the Code”. The report sparked a huge level of interest as it examined, in detail, the evidence base surrounding ten key myths commonly held around women progressing to the top in the workplace. What stood out in the original report was that whilst men and women might have similar career aspirations, leadership behaviour and push and pull factors for career moves, ultimately, it is blockages at the top that prevent a better balance of gender diversity.

In 2015, we decided to test the international waters of this debate and explore what was happening on a global platform to either support or disprove the key findings from the initial report. We spoke to a number of CEOs from a range of global organisations, who in total employ over 1 million employees.

So what have we learnt? It was heartening to hear from a number of CEOs that they have personally vested themselves into making a real difference and recognise that big challenges still remain. We saw first-hand a number of inspiring examples of how some companies are leading the way in terms of guaranteeing a better blend of gender diversity in their talent pipelines. Ensuring that this incredibly important area is being discussed at the top table is key to maintaining momentum and making a real difference.

One such example is KPMG's free-to-use ‘Connect On Board’ platform, which connects aspiring and current male and female non-executive director candidates from a diverse pool with organisations looking to build better boards. The platform, which is rapidly gaining traction, has been developed in collaboration with a number of parties, including the CBI, Family Institute of Business, the 30% Club, and a growing number of Executive Search firms. However, there is some way to go to achieve a better balance in the boardroom. FTSE 250 boards present invaluable developmental opportunities for board ready talent. Potential board candidates can join by visiting

Research methodology

We conducted a series of probing interviews to gain a better understanding of the importance of the gender agenda; what progress is being made to ensure there’s a better mix of talent being recognised, and perhaps most importantly provide us with unique insights senior business leaders have on this incredibly important topic.

Each interview was recorded, transcribed and the content analysed. The overall themes were distilled into three topics: regional differences, challenges with embedding change, advice based on personal and organisational experience.  The findings were compiled with the help of the wider KPMG and YSC Research team into the final report.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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