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RAPPORT

Will the glass ceiling become a performance ceiling?

Slow progress on boardroom diversity threatens to block their progress.

In a time of monumental change for the consumer products and retail sectors (CPR), diversity of thinking is seen as a critical survival factor. Will companies make the bold moves needed to adapt, when just 16% of seats on the executive boards of the world’s top 200 CPR companies are occupied by women?

EY’s new research highlights a worrying disconnect between the make-up of executive teams and need for more diverse thinking and teams. This is especially true in a sector where power is increasingly shifting to the shopper and women globally continue to account for the majority of purchases.

CPR companies are struggling to keep pace with the changing shopper. The omni-channel revolution is shifting control away from companies to consumers, who want to shop whenever, wherever and however they like, expect tailored and personalized connections with brands, and have limited brand loyalty. If CPR companies want to remain relevant, they can’t rely on having just one or two women at senior leadership level.

Diverse thinking and experience, driven by a mix of genders, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds is key to adapting successfully to the changes disrupting the sector.

The five disconnects

We identified five disconnects that are holding businesses back from achieving gender diversity on their boards:

1. The reality disconnect: Business leaders assume the issue is nearly solved, despite little progress within their own companies.

2. The data disconnect: Companies don’t effectively measure how well women are progressing through the workforce and into senior leadership.

3. The pipeline disconnect: Organizations aren’t creating pipelines for future female leaders.

4. The perception and perspective disconnect: Men and women don’t see the issue the same way.

5. The progress disconnect: Different sectors agree on the value of diversity, but are making uneven progress towards gender parity.

 

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