More women in leadership roles at companies that measure D&I, says report

Irish employers that signed Business in the Community’s diversity and inclusion pledge have greater representation of women in leadership roles than the national average.

The representation of women at senior and executive roles is higher than the national average among companies that have committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

That’s according to a report by national non-profit network Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI).

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Last May, almost 50 companies signed the Elevate pledge by BITCI, which called for employers to commit to greater diversity and inclusion. It included commitments to measures such as gender pay gap analyzes and disability confidence training.

The companies also agreed to measure their inclusivity and diversity in the workplace across gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

A year on, BITCI has released its first Elevate report detailing the progress of the pledge’s signatory companies have made regarding diversity and inclusion.

The report was formed by a study of 50 businesses in Ireland that employs almost 120,000 staff. Among these companies, there is 38pc female representation in senior executive roles, compared with a national average of 30pc.

Data disclosure in the areas of gender and age was good, according to the report’s authors, however other areas such as ethnicity and disability were at a less advanced stage. The authors acknowledged that gender diversity is a common starting point for D&I policies.

There are 18 companies where the percentage of women at senior management level is at least five percentage points ahead of those at the next or C-suite executive level, indicating the positive impact of leadership programs for women.

The report also found that women fill 30pc of top-earning posts at these companies, with salaries of €120,000 and upwards. However, women are also disproportionately overrepresented at the lowest salary bands of less than €26,000.

“While the study is representative of just 50 companies involving 120,000 employees, it points to good news in the increasing representation of women at senior management level,” Tomás Sercovich, CEO of BITCI.

“This is real change and one that we hope will be replicated in the other areas which the Elevate report will capture in succeeding years.”

While progress is being seen in gender diversity, the report recommended that age-related policies be put in place to make workplaces more suitable for Ireland’s ageing workforce. Just 1pc of the Elevate pledge workforce of 120,000 were aged 65 or over, with 84pc aged between 26 and 65.

“Estimates from the CSO indicate there will be about 1.5m people aged over 65 in Ireland by 2051. Also, with the qualifying age for the old age pension likely to be pushed out, people are going to be in the workplace longer,” the report said.

“Having an understanding of the age profile of the workforce and developing strategies to mitigate risks is going to become important for employers.”

BITCI is also adding to its portfolio of employment programs supporting marginalized people in employment by launching a new Traveler programme, funded by The Community Foundation for Ireland.

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