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2024 KPMG Women's Leadership Summit Report: A Roadmap to the C-suite

Findings from the sixth annual study.

Click here to view the 2024 KPMG Women's Leadership Summit Report

JUNE 19, 2024 – According to the findings of a recent survey conducted by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm, while there is still room for greater gender parity in corporate leadership, most executive women report positive progress in the representation of women in their organization’s C-suite over the last ten years, and they believe that achieving a C-suite role is personally attainable.

The annual study, which this year commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, includes insights from nearly 1,500 executive women from leading companies across the United States, all of whom are past participants of the annual KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit. The study highlights both the progress made, and the ongoing challenges, in advancing women to the C-suite.

“As we reflect on the ten years of the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, we are especially proud that 69% of executive women who have participated in our Summit have since been promoted, 38% of them to C-suite roles in the world’s leading organizations.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to women’s empowerment and success, and hope this annual report continues to be a source of insight and encouragement as we champion progress and equity, together,” said Laura Newinski, Deputy Chair and Chief Operating Officer, KPMG US.

Key Findings:

Executive women are optimistic about their own future paths to a C-Suite position.

-73% of executive women say having a C-Suite title is a career aspiration and believe the C-suite role is obtainable for them.

-78% of executive women report an increase in representation of women in their organization’s C-suite over the last ten years.

-When asked about what has contributed to the progress of C-suite representation, respondents cited the sponsorship of women in their organization (81%); holding leaders accountable for women’s progress throughout the career pipeline (61%); and a focus on high-profile and stretch assignments as career accelerators for women (57%).

Executive women see a broad combination of social, structural, and workplace challenges to advancement, with succession planning as the key driver of change.

-While 73% of executive women say that a C-suite title is a career aspiration, 27% say it is not and point toward the pressure of the role and the need for work-life balance as reasons why they don’t see the C-suite as part of their future.

-45% of respondents believe effective succession planning is key to helping women reach the C-suite, more than any other policy. It’s one of the biggest tools used, with 68% of executive women reporting they are part of the succession plan within their organization.

-37% say access to mentors and sponsors helped elevate them to the C-Suite.

Executive women are overcoming self-doubt and channeling resilience to get ahead, all while actively prioritizing wellness and stability.

-63% of executive women say they are not intimidated by being the first or only woman. Instead, many find such situations invigorating, motivating, and even inspiring. However, they often grapple with imposter syndrome, the fear of being exposed as an imposter.

-An overwhelming 95% of executive women acknowledge the escalating importance of resilience as they have grown in their careers and navigated the complexities of corporate hierarchies.

-A striking 79% of executive women affirm that prioritizing wellness has emerged as a paramount factor for their professional success as they progress in their careers. They actively carve out time for self-care, establish boundaries, cultivate healthy habits, foster connections, and seek support to uphold their well-being.

-87% of respondents believe generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) will increase productivity, but only 4% believe GenAI is a catalyst specifically for women’s advancement into corporate leadership roles in the next decade.


The KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit

The KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, now in its tenth year, continues to build a pipeline of women leaders on the path to the C-suite. Through high-impact leadership development content, access to today’s top leaders, and year-long networking opportunities, KPMG aims to support these women as they advance in their careers.

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