By: Rocky White
Speakers you Need (SyN), an international professional development company, understands the importance of designing training programs that meet and surpass the needs and goals of each organization they serve. To develop and train strong leaders, SyN recently identified four key trends they expect to see in the learning and development industry for 2018. While each of these trends will be part of SyN’s comprehensive program, none is more important than recognizing, growing, and empowering female leadership.
Although gender bias in the workplace is not a new subject, it has once again made headlines. According to the Women’s Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, the gender gap in earnings has narrowed but still hovers near 79%. The gender earnings ratio compares women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s for full-time, year-round employees. Although the gap has closed significantly since World War II, progress has slowed in recent decades. Studies point to several reasons for that slowdown, but it’s at least partially due to an enduring gender gap in leadership where the salaries are highest.
Since the late 1940s, a growing number of women have not only entered the workforce but have embraced educational opportunities. Women in 2011 earned 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, 61% of master’s degrees, and 51% of PhDs. (See Note 1) As recently as 2014, the Labor Department reported 251,000 female lawyers (34% of the total), 284,000 female doctors (37%), and 134,000 marketing analysts (61%). However, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women held only 27% of private-sector executive positions. Additionally, Inc. reported that only 6% of Fortune 500 companies were led by women.
Mark your calendar for April 23-27, Administrative Professionals Week, and begin thinking about how you can best recognize and celebrate Office Professionals. SyN will help you do that, by focusing on the eight skills areas that turn ordinary employees into extraordinary talent.
While high-profile women do lead in both business and politics, those numbers are still surprisingly low. In a three-part series, Business Insider reported that women possess inherently strong leadership skills and scored higher than men in several leadership categories including the following:
• Taking initiative
• Developing others
• Displaying high integrity and honesty
• Inspiring and motivating others
• Creating collaborative teams
• Being champions for change
Women were also perceived to be better at solving problems and analyzing issues, driving for results, and establishing stretch goals. Evidence also suggests that female-led companies not only perform better but report higher annualized returns. A recent study cited by Inc. showed that female-led firms reported a 25% annualized return since 2009, more than double the 11% earned by the MSCI World Index (a global market index).
In 2018, SyN expects smart companies to recognize that working to narrow the gender gap in leadership is both a business opportunity and the chance to improve their organizational culture. Many large companies are already taking steps to diversify their leadership and eliminate biases. To accomplish this, organizations will examine their current processes for developing and growing leadership, address any existing biases, and make recommendations to include more opportunities for women. Corporate leaders will be trained to actively seek out, develop, and mentor female talent. Companies will look internally for opportunities to grow the ranks of female leadership. Opportunities for women will be expanded to include positions starting in middle management and reaching to the boardroom. An added benefit of female leadership is that women in charge can attract more women to their companies. Organizations will work to create an environment that champions its employees and develops strong leadership regardless of gender.
SyN is a professional development and live stand-up training company headquartered in Kansas City with more than 100 subject matter experts positioned throughout North America. For more information about leadership, team building, goal setting, mentoring or any topic facing businesses or organizations today, please contact Rocky White, SyN CEO and President at 913.815.1494 or http://speakersyouneed.com
Note 1: The Gender Gap by Francine D, Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn, January 2016