Cracking the Code – how to develop more female leaders in the workplace?

19 Mar 2014

Cracking the Code, a new report published yesterday by KPMG, YSC and the 30% Club, investigates the challenge of getting more women into senior leadership positions.

CodeIts key messages are that organisations need to do more around changing their cultural view toward women’s career progression and that women cannot create gender parity alone.

There is still a long way to go until women are equally represented at the top of corporate organisations and the report cites how a man starting his career in a FTSE 100 organisation is 4.5 times more likely to make it to the Executive Committee than his female counterpart.

Cracking the Code, which is based on data from several FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 organisations, including Tesco, is an important piece of research which should help organisations understand the importance and benefits of having more female leaders in the future.

Women at Tesco

The report higlights Tesco’s ‘Women in Leadership’ programme, which supports talented women to build on their strengths, understand their own personal barriers, build strong, strategic networks and take control of their careers. Since its launch in 2011 over a third of those on the initial intake have been promoted, including ten new female Directors.

Furthermore, over 30% of our current PLC Board members are women.

Tesco also has a strong record on gender pay equality. We have also been reporting on pay equality for several years (in 2013 the male-female pay gap at Tesco was less than 1%) and we were one of the first employers to sign up to the voluntary Think, Act, Report scheme.

10 myths

The report dispels 10 common myths about gender diversity in the workplace, such as “Childrearing stops women getting to the top” and “Women don’t aspire to senior leadership roles”.

In the case of childrearing, for example, the report suggests that this slows down women’s careers only marginally and that more significant promotion gaps emerge earlier on. It recommends that organisations should provide career navigation tools to men and women in the early stages of their careers.

As for the assumption that women don’t aspire to be leaders, the report says that women actually become more ambitious about senior leadership as their career progresses. Don’t write women off too early, the report says; their ambition grows with their experience. 

Read all 10 myths about women and career progression here.