Mercer | When Women Thrive: A European Perspective

Mercer | When Women Thrive: A European Perspective

Thriving Workforce

When Women Thrive: A European Perspective

2015 Preliminary When Women Thrive Research Findings

This preliminary research findings paper was produced for discussion at Mercer's 2nd Annual When Women Thrive Signature Event that took place in Brussels, Belgium in November 2015. The content is based on our initial analysis of our 2015 global research findings, with particular focus on Europe. Together with EDGE Certified Foundation, Mercer will release the full global report in January 2015. 

"This is a business imperative - one that every business leader needs to personally drive. Now is the time for us to take action!

I'm enormously proud of the work that Mercer is doing to advance women and accelerate the growth of companies as a result."

Patricia Milligan

Founder of When Women Thrive and Senior Partner, Mercer

The European Imperative for Change

Equal treatment for women and men is a founding principle of the European Union. However, much can be done to move the needle further on gender equality. Europe continues to see a lack of women at the most senior levels and on executive boards, a steady decline in the representation rates of women as career levels rise within organisations, and a stubbonly persistent gender pay gap.

  • A number of significant developments are helping shape a renewed focus on gender equality in the EU:
  • The ageing demographic in Europe
  • The economic drive for growth and competitiveness through harnessing all available talent
  • Stronger corporate governance requirements, particularly in relation to gender diversity
  • Greater transparency for companies in relation to equality and diversity
  • The persistent gender pay gap and practices that discriminate against women

Men and Women Offer Employers Different but Equally Important Skills for Driving the Business

Although we know men and women are seen to have unique strengths, we see an encouraging result in totality: female managers are perceived to possess the skills and experiences considered most critical for future career success. To ensure that organisations are realising the advantage of the unique skills of women in their workforces, they need to ensure that such skills are fairly valued and document specific competency requirements to ensure that those with these critical skills are prioritised for leadership roles.

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