Millennials say they’ll be the ones to finally level the playing field for women at work – but it will take another 21 years to achieve gender parity in the workplace

New research from ManpowerGroup reveals 97% of Millennials think their generation will finally achieve equality of opportunity for emerging female leaders. Biggest barrier to progress is entrenched male culture, admit male leaders. Progress is glacial so ManpowerGroup identifies practical steps to accelerate more women into leadership

ManpowerGroup, the world’s workforce expert, today published global research revealing that 97% of Millennials think they’ll be the generation to finally achieve equal opportunities for women in the workplace. However, they are pragmatic about when it will happen, estimating it will take another 21 years. The most optimistic were established male leaders, who estimate the playing field will be level in the next 14 years, despite the fact they hold the power and influence at a time when progress is stalling.

The report, “Seven Steps to Conscious Inclusion: A Practical Guide to Accelerating More Women into Leadership,” takes a deep-dive into generational, gender and geographical divides on attitudes to achieving gender parity and provides practical solutions to make progress faster. It draws on insights from more than 200 global leaders and identifies structural obstacles that need to be overcome.


of women make-up the global workforce


of those women have senior leadership roles


The most significant obstacle identified is an entrenched male culture, a barrier that even men acknowledged must change. Three-fifths (59%) of leaders interviewed said they believe the single most powerful thing an organization can do to promote more women leaders is to create a gender-neutral culture, led by the CEO. Two-fifths (42%) agreed that flexible working is key to getting more women into leadership. This requires a wholesale rethinking of the workplace.

“It’s proven that the problem will not correct itself – we are stuck in a circular conversation,” said Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup’s Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Gender Parity. “Increasing representation by putting more women in support roles like Communications and HR is just not good enough anymore. That is not shifting the needle. Getting more women into P&L roles will significantly help accelerate the talent and leadership pipeline. That’s why we commissioned this report – to help turn words into action.”

“Getting women into leadership isn’t just an ethical imperative. When half of the talent pool and half of consumers are female, it makes good business sense, achieves diversity of thought and better decision-making.” said Jonas Prising, CEO, ManpowerGroup. “CEOs need to own this. Accountability sits with senior leadership to create and champion a culture of conscious inclusion. Articulating a talent legacy, saying how things will change and by when, helps leaders realize the seriousness of this. True change takes time, focus and discipline.”


About the Research
In August 2015, ManpowerGroup commissioned a global study of 222 Established and Emerging male and female Leaders, including 72 from ManpowerGroup, to investigate attitudes towards conscious inclusion of women in senior leadership roles. Leaders were split between 111 established C-suite executives and 111 next generation leaders aged under 45 reporting into the C-suite or two levels down. There was an equal balance of males and females, across 25 countries, providing regional perspectives from the Americas, Europe and Middle East and Asia Pacific. In-depth interviews took place between 7 August – 30 September 2015, totaling more than 130 hours of audio which were transcribed, translated and analyzed using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods.

About ManpowerGroup
ManpowerGroup® (NYSE: MAN) is the world’s workforce expert, creating innovative workforce solutions for more than 65 years. As workforce experts, we connect more than 600,000 people to meaningful work across a wide range of skills and industries every day. Through our ManpowerGroup family of brands – Manpower®, Experis®, Right Management® and ManpowerGroup® Solutions – we help more than 400,000 clients in 80 countries and territories address their critical talent needs, providing comprehensive solutions to resource, manage and develop talent. In 2015, ManpowerGroup was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the fifth consecutive year and one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies, confirming our position as the most trusted and admired brand in the industry. See how ManpowerGroup makes powering the world of work humanly possible: