seen a rapid rise in the amount and types of technology available to support the creation of unbiased cultures, recruitment, succession planning, and performance assessment.
In addition, our Healthy, Wealthy and Work-Wise
research found that women face a gender gap in career continuity, opportunity, and access to employ-er-sponsored benefit plans—and are significantly more
stressed than men.
This stress can manifest in interesting ways. For
example, willingness to go for a promotion or a new
job is correlated to financial courage; with women
continuing to be less financially secure and more
stressed about their current and future prospects than
men, we will continue to see a reluctance to take risks
within their career.
The gender gap issue suggests a counter-intuitive
approach: achieving gender representation comes by
acknowledging and valuing differences, not minimiz-
ing them. Women and men are physically different,
face different types of career and work-life balance
challenges, societal expectations, and approach finan-
cial security in different ways. We must adapt our ben-
efits, education, management and training programs to
meet them where they are.
Again, data analytics and advancing technology
can play a vital role. It can help organizations identify areas of pay inequality and life stages that warrant
targeted conversations. Meanwhile, personalized resources and tools, along with coaching, mentorship
and executive sponsorship of gender-specific programs can help men and women focus on their overall
well-being in a more targeted way.
As a global leader of 25,000 employees, I don’t see
profitability and D&I as zero-sum games. I see D&I more
broadly. I see it as leadership and employee wellness and
productivity issues, since a commitment to D&I calls for
benefits and programs more tailored to the individual
needs of a diverse workforce. It is not enough, however,
that the CEO believes in D&I. We need to surround ourselves with leaders who share the same beliefs so that it
flows throughout the organization. Not as a mandate but
as an essential component of the culture.
It’s important to take hard, unbiased looks at ourselves, our own leaders, our processes and our programs —starting with the Executive Leadership—to
institute innovative changes to bring all employees
along, not just on the company’s journey, but on the
entire journey toward a brighter future of work.
And so, to re-energize the conversation on D&I and
the effort to close the gender gap, we’ve launched the
next generation of our “When Women Thrive, Busi-
nesses Thrive” research project and consulting prac-
tice, which is entering its sixth year. With a planned
release of global findings in March 2020, the new re-
search will dive deeper to explore how organizations:
• Benchmark their programs, policies and practices
• Consider operational context, such as industry, re-
gion and organization size
• See the outlook on their talent pipelines, based on
talent flows and future workforce needs
Like everyone else, at Mercer we’re still on the road
to gender parity. Only by actively listening, challenging
the status quo and being willing to confront our own
data honestly, will we be able to meet our employees
where they are and build a culture where individuals and
our leadership teams can come together for change and
drive forward—into a brighter future for all.