‘Cracking the Code’ research findings unveiled

‘Cracking the Code’ research findings unveiled

Myths around women reaching the height of their career ladder, undermined by new findings

Also on KPMG.com

Press Release

March 18 2014 - At a launch event held in London today, the 30% Club released the findings of their latest research that undermines ten myths around how women progress to the top.

The research – conducted in four streams by business psychology consultancy, YSC and professional services firm, KPMG – encompasses a representative cross-section of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies, accounting for over 680,000 employees.

It finds that men and women have similar career aspirations, leadership behaviour and push and pull factors for career moves. However, the study also reveals that even small differences can result in markedly different outcomes. Currently, a man starting his career in a FTSE 100 organisation is 4.5 times more likely to make it to the Executive Committee (‘ExCo’) than his female counterpart. The blockage is at the top: senior women are two times less likely to be promoted and four times less likely to leave than their male peers.

YSC Director, Rachel Short, comments: “Removing the ‘psychological’ barriers for women is just as important as removing the ‘structural’ barriers if we are to fundamentally shift the dial in women’s progression to the very top."

KPMG’s findings show that the internal pipeline of female executive talent currently feeding into main board level positions may not achieve the 30% Club’s aims, with only 23% of the representative sample of FTSE 100 companies currently having 30% or more female ExCo members. A further 23% of companies report having 20%-30% female ExCo members.

The research finds that only a minority of women at senior level – 7% of ExCo positions - have responsibility for a profit-generating area of the business. The majority of senior women are responsible for internal functions such as HR and Legal, while the commercial reins are still held by men.

Men are also found to be as important as women in role-modeling behaviour which inspires women lower down the pipeline, with the study highlighting that women alone cannot drive change for gender parity. To deliver fundamental change in the future, organisations need to be more honest about the strategic importance of gender diversity. All leaders must show a personal interest in the issue of getting women to the top. 

YSC Director, Rachel Short, comments: “Outsourcing responsibility to HR enablers or D&I champions is a cop-out. Men as well as women need to feel comfortable advocating for change from a personal motivation – for their daughters in the future, if not their wives in the present.”

KPMG Partner, Melanie Richards adds: “Greater authenticity is needed from Board and Executive Committee members as to whether gender diversity is a strategically critical corporate priority or not”.

Minister for Women and Equalities Maria Miller said: “This research helps to debunk unhelpful myths about women in the workplace. People thrive when they feel supported by their employers so it’s important businesses are removing the barriers that hold women back and creating an environment where they can fulfil their potential. Our workplace culture is changing, but to keep that momentum going it is vital that we all take responsibility, share information and are as transparent as possible. That way we can learn how to do things differently and more effectively in the future.”

Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and Founder of the 30% Club said: “What I take from this research is that we will only really take a quantum leap towards better gender balance at all levels when organisations treat this as a mainstream, not a 'diversity' issue”.


- ENDS -


Media enquiries:

Mike Petrook, KPMG Corporate Affairs

T: 020 7311 5271

M: 07917 384 576

E: mike.petrook@kpmg.co.uk

Mark Hamilton, KPMG Corporate Affairs

T: 020 7694 2687

M: 07785 337672

E: mark.hamilton@kpmg.co.uk


30% Club

Gay Collins, MHP Communications

T: 020 3128 8582

M: 07798 626 282

Toto Reissland-Burghart, MHP Communications

T: 020 3128 8100

Jamie Brookes, BNY Mellon

T: 020 7163 2146

M: 07769900417

E: 30PercentClubpr@mhpc.com

W: www.30percentclub.org.uk



Alexandra Kent, Man Bites Dog

T: 07734 966 161

Rebecca Parish, Man Bites Dog 

T: 01273 200 520

E: teamYSC@manbitesdog.com


KPMG Press Office: +44 (0) 207 694 8773


Notes to Editors

The 10 Mythbusters in the ‘Cracking the Code’ final report are as follows:

Myth 1 – Women don’t aspire to senior leadership roles

Myth 2 – Women don’t stick it out to make it to the very top

Myth 3 – Childrearing stops women getting to the top

Myth 4 – Women don’t get to the top because they lack confidence

Myth 5 - Women lack the leadership qualities needed at the top

Myth 6 – Women don’t’ have the networks that open doors to the top

Myth 7– Senior women leaders pull up the career ladder behind them

Myth 8 - High potential programmes are fast-tracking women

Myth 9 – Formal flexible working arrangements ease women’s route to the top

Myth 10 – The business case for gender diversity is working


About YSC

We are a global firm of business psychologists helping organisations achieve commercial success by releasing the power of their people. We do this by combining industry leading psychological insight with a thorough understanding of our clients’ business needs. We work with clients across their entire talent lifecycles, including: recruitment, induction, development, the identification of potential, internal selection, role change, measurement and departure. Our key client offerings include 1:1 and team assessment, executive coaching, organisational consulting and the measurement of change.



Editors, for further information contact:

Rachel Short

T: 020 7520 5555

E: rachel.short@ysc.com

Please note: complete biographical details, high resolution pictures of Rachel Short and YSC logos are attached with this press release. Alternatively, please contact marketing@ysc.com


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.


If you would like to discuss our research in more detail then please call:

Mike Petrook, KPMG Corporate Affairs

T: 020 7311 5271

M: 07917 384 576

E: mike.petrook@kpmg.co.uk

Mark Hamilton, KPMG Corporate Affairs

T: 020 7694 2687

M: 07785 337672

E: mark.hamilton@kpmg.co.uk

You can also find further detail and background on our website:

W: www.kpmg.com/uk/P3

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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