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For Continuous Growth and Innovation Organizations Will Require Diversity at the Top

Date: 12/02/2014
Source: EY
For Continuous Growth and Innovation Organizations Will Require Diversity at the Top

  • Only five G20 countries have over a third or more women in senior positions
  • European Commission increases women in public leadership roles from 20.5% to 27.5% year-on-year. Russia sees the largest increase of women in leadership roles from 13% to 23.4% during same period

According to EY’s latest Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report released recently, although women account for around 48% of the overall public sector workforce, they still represent less than 20% of senior public sector leadership roles across the G20.

This year’s Index, which classifies senior leaders as non-elected senior executives across federal or national governments, and the executive ranks of the core civil service, shows that only five countries in the G20 have over a third or more women in senior leadership roles across the public sector. Canada (45.9%), Australia (39.2%), South Africa (38.1%), the United Kingdom (36.2%) and Brazil (33.8%) — occupy the top slots respectively, though South Africa has moved up one place to number three. The US ranks sixth with 33% of women accounting for senior public sector leadership roles.

In 2014 and moving forward, governments need innovation more than ever. As long-term demographics shift, diversity has been shown to improve innovation and creative problem solving. Governments will require a diverse group of people devising and implementing policies. Unleashing the talent of women can bring powerful positive change and increases the likelihood of better outcomes for us all.

Application of quotas – long-term positive effects
Despite a limited scope of representation of women in senior positions, overall, the 2014 Index shows a moderately encouraging picture — in all but five of the countries surveyed, the proportion of women in public sector leadership posts has increased. While ratios of women represented in the public sector overall are generally higher in developed markets, the proportion of these women in leadership roles varies widely across developed and emerging markets. This is partially due to an influx of policies encouraging affirmative action in developed markets.

Canada, which leads the Index, with women making up 45.9% of senior leaders in government, has a long history of taking positive action to promote underrepresented groups in public services. Since the early 1980s there have been voluntary affirmative action programs in both public and private sectors. In the 1990s, these were given legislative force in the public sector, and later in industries regulated by federal government.

In 2011 the European Commission set in place a new strategy for ensuring that women are better represented at senior levels. This has already seen impressive results — the proportion of women in top posts rose from 20.5% in 2012 to 27.5% in 2013.
In France, quotas on the number of women in senior posts introduced in 2012 are already having an impact as the number of female senior public leaders has increased from 21% to 25%. In Germany, the federal government introduced a 30% quota for women on the boards of DAX-listed companies in November 2013. But while there is no equivalent quota for their own civil service, the percentage of women in senior public leadership positions has increased from 13% to 17% in the last year.
The most surprising evolution among the G20 countries came this year from Russia, the country which sees the largest increase of women in leadership roles from 13% last year to 23.4% at the moment.

Correlations to the private sector
The Index also considers data on the representation of women on private sector boards and in each country’s parliament. There is some broad correlation here – countries that are in the top half of EY’s Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report tend also to be in the top of the other tables that measure women representation on private sector boards and in country’s parliaments. It's notable that South Africa is relatively high in all three categories, a testament to its strong framework of targets and affirmative action.

Turkey, however, has seen a long-term drop in women’s full labor market participation rate – from a high of 48% in 1980 to just 29% in 2013 – a rate significantly lower than most G20 countries. The country has in fact seen a decrease in senior public women leadership positions in the last year from 13.6% to 9.4%. Broadly, poor childcare options and a shift away from a traditional agricultural economy, in which women are well-represented – have contributed to this low participation rate. As Turkey continues to negotiate entry to the European Union, there will be continued pressure on the country to improve its gender equality track record.

Social barriers to leadership
The report also highlights the growing discrepancy that despite an underrepresentation of women in the leadership posts of all the governments, women are conversely well-represented in more junior posts across the public sectors in those countries. In many countries, the barriers come from outside the government itself.
Elena Badea, Marketing Director EY Romania, says: “If we are to see improvements in the representation of women in public leadership positions, we need a pipeline of talented women in more junior posts – or even outside governments. For without talented women to promote, even the best laid gender diversity policies will flounder”.
***
About EY Romania
EY is one of the world's leading professional services firms with approximately 190,000 employees in 700 offices across 150 countries, and revenues of approximately $27.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on 30 June 2014. Our network is the most integrated at global level and its vast resources allow us to help our clients benefit from every opportunity. In Romania, EY has been a leader on the professional services market since its set up in 1992. Our over 500 employees in Romania and Moldova provide seamless assurance, tax, transactions, and advisory services to clients ranging from multinationals to local companies. Our offices are based in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Chisinau. From 1 July 2013, Ernst & Young becomes EY, the logo has been modified in response to this change and the company's new tagline becomes "Building a better working world". The new visual identity reflects the new strategy of EY, Vision 2020. For more information, please visit www.ey.com.

About the report
Research for the 2014 Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report was conducted by the international research team at Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd. The Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report will form part of a series of regular reports designed to track progress and change in governments, and stimulate conversation promoting diversity among the leadership of the public service across the globe.

The figures presented in this report have been obtained by either consultation and/or correspondence with each of the G20 member states, by verification by at least one government official or from government data. A list of sources used to compile the report is available at the end of the report.

We have defined public sector leaders as being non-elected senior executives across federal or national governments, or the executive ranks of the core civil service in central government. This group constitutes approximately the most senior 10% of public officials. Definitions of the civil service, as well as sectors covered at the central level of government, differ across countries and this should be considered when making comparisons.
For Continuous Growth and Innovation Organizations Will Require Diversity at the Top
 Only five G20 countries have over a third or more women in senior positions
 European Commission increases women in public leadership roles from 20.5% to 27.5% year-on-year. Russia sees the largest increase of women in leadership roles from 13% to 23.4% during same period

According to EY’s latest Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report released recently, although women account for around 48% of the overall public sector workforce, they still represent less than 20% of senior public sector leadership roles across the G20.
This year’s Index, which classifies senior leaders as non-elected senior executives across federal or national governments, and the executive ranks of the core civil service, shows that only five countries in the G20 have over a third or more women in senior leadership roles across the public sector. Canada (45.9%), Australia (39.2%), South Africa (38.1%), the United Kingdom (36.2%) and Brazil (33.8%) — occupy the top slots respectively, though South Africa has moved up one place to number three. The US ranks sixth with 33% of women accounting for senior public sector leadership roles.
In 2014 and moving forward, governments need innovation more than ever. As long-term demographics shift, diversity has been shown to improve innovation and creative problem solving. Governments will require a diverse group of people devising and implementing policies. Unleashing the talent of women can bring powerful positive change and increases the likelihood of better outcomes for us all.
Application of quotas – long-term positive effects
Despite a limited scope of representation of women in senior positions, overall, the 2014 Index shows a moderately encouraging picture — in all but five of the countries surveyed, the proportion of women in public sector leadership posts has increased. While ratios of women represented in the public sector overall are generally higher in developed markets, the proportion of these women in leadership roles varies widely across developed and emerging markets. This is partially due to an influx of policies encouraging affirmative action in developed markets.
Canada, which leads the Index, with women making up 45.9% of senior leaders in government, has a long history of taking positive action to promote underrepresented groups in public services. Since the early 1980s there have been voluntary affirmative action programs in both public and private sectors. In the 1990s, these were given legislative force in the public sector, and later in industries regulated by federal government.
In 2011 the European Commission set in place a new strategy for ensuring that women are better represented at senior levels. This has already seen impressive results — the proportion of women in top posts rose from 20.5% in 2012 to 27.5% in 2013.
In France, quotas on the number of women in senior posts introduced in 2012 are already having an impact as the number of female senior public leaders has increased from 21% to 25%. In Germany, the federal government introduced a 30% quota for women on the boards of DAX-listed companies in November 2013. But while there is no equivalent quota for their own civil service, the percentage of women in senior public leadership positions has increased from 13% to 17% in the last year.
The most surprising evolution among the G20 countries came this year from Russia, the country which sees the largest increase of women in leadership roles from 13% last year to 23.4% at the moment.
Correlations to the private sector
The Index also considers data on the representation of women on private sector boards and in each country’s parliament. There is some broad correlation here – countries that are in the top half of EY’s Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report tend also to be in the top of the other tables that measure women representation on private sector boards and in country’s parliaments. It's notable that South Africa is relatively high in all three categories, a testament to its strong framework of targets and affirmative action.

Turkey, however, has seen a long-term drop in women’s full labor market participation rate – from a high of 48% in 1980 to just 29% in 2013 – a rate significantly lower than most G20 countries. The country has in fact seen a decrease in senior public women leadership positions in the last year from 13.6% to 9.4%. Broadly, poor childcare options and a shift away from a traditional agricultural economy, in which women are well-represented – have contributed to this low participation rate. As Turkey continues to negotiate entry to the European Union, there will be continued pressure on the country to improve its gender equality track record.

Social barriers to leadership
The report also highlights the growing discrepancy that despite an underrepresentation of women in the leadership posts of all the governments, women are conversely well-represented in more junior posts across the public sectors in those countries. In many countries, the barriers come from outside the government itself.
Elena Badea, Marketing Director EY Romania, says: “If we are to see improvements in the representation of women in public leadership positions, we need a pipeline of talented women in more junior posts – or even outside governments. For without talented women to promote, even the best laid gender diversity policies will flounder”.
***
About EY Romania
EY is one of the world's leading professional services firms with approximately 190,000 employees in 700 offices across 150 countries, and revenues of approximately $27.4 billion in the fiscal year that ended on 30 June 2014. Our network is the most integrated at global level and its vast resources allow us to help our clients benefit from every opportunity. In Romania, EY has been a leader on the professional services market since its set up in 1992. Our over 500 employees in Romania and Moldova provide seamless assurance, tax, transactions, and advisory services to clients ranging from multinationals to local companies. Our offices are based in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Chisinau. From 1 July 2013, Ernst & Young becomes EY, the logo has been modified in response to this change and the company's new tagline becomes "Building a better working world". The new visual identity reflects the new strategy of EY, Vision 2020. For more information, please visit www.ey.com.

About the report
Research for the 2014 Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report was conducted by the international research team at Dods Parliamentary Communications Ltd. The Worldwide Women Public Sector Leaders Index report will form part of a series of regular reports designed to track progress and change in governments, and stimulate conversation promoting diversity among the leadership of the public service across the globe.

The figures presented in this report have been obtained by either consultation and/or correspondence with each of the G20 member states, by verification by at least one government official or from government data. A list of sources used to compile the report is available at the end of the report.

We have defined public sector leaders as being non-elected senior executives across federal or national governments, or the executive ranks of the core civil service in central government. This group constitutes approximately the most senior 10% of public officials. Definitions of the civil service, as well as sectors covered at the central level of government, differ across countries and this should be considered when making comparisons.

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