A survey done by McKinsey on workplace diversity in Latin America concluded that women in the region are still greatly underrepresented in top management. McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm.
Since McKinsey’s global survey three years ago, a larger share of female and male executives in Latin America now say that gender diversity is a top agenda item at their companies. Fully 60 percent of executives say they believe that companies with diverse leadership teams that include significant numbers of women generate higher financial returns.
However, respondents report few women on their companies’ executive teams, and male and female executives disagree as to why women are underrepresented.
Executives do agree that the hardest measures for their companies to implement are flexible working conditions, gender quotas, and gender-specific hiring goals and programs.
More than half also say a cultural bias influences their own companies’ approaches to gender diversity: Seventy percent of respondents in Latin America say the notion that women must take care of the family is strong enough in their countries to influence career decisions.
Fifty-two percent of executive respondents say when women leave voluntarily, it’s to spend more time with family, a figure unchanged from 2010. In contrast, respondents to the McKinsey global 2010 survey were, on average, much less likely to cite family reasons as the explanation (37 percent), as were the respondents to the 2012 survey in Asia (39 percent).
Seventy-eight percent report that the cultures in their home countries make it easier for men than for women to move forward in their careers—and respondents in Brazil and Mexico are even likelier to say so.
Both male and female respondents agree that the biggest effect on increasing gender diversity in top management would come from flexible working conditions, visible monitoring by the CEO, and support services to help with work-life balance.