Female leaders expect equality in 15 years at the latest

"KPMG's Global Female Leaders Outlook: Business growth depends on gender equality

"KPMG's Global Female Leaders Outlook: Business growth depends on gender equality

Berlin/Frankfurt, 4th September 2023

Three out of four female executives expect ultimate gender equality in companies to be achieved in 15 years at the latest (77 percent). This is according to KPMG's Global Female Leaders Outlook (GFLO), for which 839 female executives from companies around the world - including most from the USA and Germany - were surveyed for the fourth time since 2018 about their views on economic issues. Half of the companies where the female executives work report revenues of more than $500 million.

Three-quarters of respondents expect to make further progress on diversity and inclusion in the coming years. The value is identical to the results of the CEO Outlook 2022. However, there are regional differences: it is striking that top female managers in North America are significantly more optimistic than in other regions. Nowhere are gender equality measures that have already been implemented or are planned met with more positive feedback. How crucial gender equality is is shown by the 75 percent of respondents who name this aspect as a particularly important factor for future growth. This result is in line with those of KPMG's CEO Outlook 2022 (79 percent).

The issue of the gender pay gap is also present. According to data from the World Economic Forum, the pay gap for leadership roles is currently 38 per cent. 45 per cent of the participants report that there is transparency in their companies with regard to equal pay, while 33 per cent report a lack of transparency. Another 22 per cent report that they do not have any data on the pay gap.

Despite polycrises: Top women managers are optimistic about the future

In addition to aspects of gender equality, this year's GFLO explored the question of what growth prospects female managers currently see for their companies and themselves personally. Despite the ongoing crises and uncertainties, the outlook is positive - 84 percent of the female participants surveyed expect growth for their company in the next three years. Although the complexity of tasks has increased (90 percent), almost two thirds (72 percent) also see opportunities for their own careers in the extraordinary challenges of the polycrises. This is accompanied by changing demands on personal leadership styles.

The importance of networks is increasing

When it comes to the structural framework conditions for a successful career, the relevance of the personal network increases significantly. In 2018, it was 41 percent of the respondents who emphasised the personal network, now it is 57 percent. Options for part-time work (15 percent) or the women's quota (3 percent) play a lesser role. One participant summarises her career-enhancing conditions as follows: "Male allies, female role models, hybrid working models."

Other results of the survey:

  • 87 per cent consider adaptability to be the most important success factor for increasing corporate resilience
  • 47 per cent expect ESG to have a positive effect on business growth
  • 74 per cent say that retention and training of employees will be a priority over investment in new technologies in the future
  • 80 per cent have had to change companies at least once to make the next career move
  • 51 per cent say their company still has an "old boys club", a male network.
  • Only 4 per cent have a partner who has the main responsibility for the family and household.

Press contact

Clemens Reisbeck

Deputy Head Corporate Communications
KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft

T +49 89 9282 1722