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Corporate policies key to gender equality, closing pay gap—Accenture Report says

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Fresh list of strategies and reforms capable of unlocking gender equality and narrowing pay gap currently suffered by female folks have been evolved by leading ICT research group, Accenture.

Otherwise, new research from Accenture has identified 40 workplace factors that create a culture of equality — including 14 factors that matter the most.

The strategies, published Thursday, in the company’s “Getting to Equal 2018” report, detail the most-effective actions that business leaders can take to accelerate advancement and help close the gender pay gap.

Technically based on a survey of more than 22,000 working men and women in 34 countries, the research measured their perception of factors that contribute to their workplace cultures. The survey was supplemented with in-depth interviews and a detailed analysis of published data on a range of workforce issues.

Toyin Osungbesan, Women Executive Sponsor and Country Finance Controller at Accenture in Nigeria, noted in a remark that “Our research shows that in companies with cultures that include the workplace factors that help women advance, men thrive too, and we all rise together”.

“We see this research as a powerful reminder that building a culture of equality is essential to achieving gender equality because people, not programs, are what make a company inclusive and diverse,” she added.

However, Accenture’s research found that in companies where the 40 factors are most common, everyone benefits: 92 percent of employees are satisfied with their career progression; 93 percent of employees aspire to get promoted; 97 percent aspire to become senior leaders in their organizations.

The report averred further that everyone has a better opportunity to advance: stressing that Women are 43 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and 3.5 times as likely to advance to senior manager/director or above; and Men are 25 percent more likely to advance to manager or above and nearly twice as likely to advance to senior manager/director or above.

While both women and men advance in companies in which the 40 factors are common, women have the most to gain.

If all working environments in Nigeria were like those in which the 40 factors are most common: the report added that; For every 100 male managers, there could be as many as 87 female managers, up from the current ratio of 100 to 46; Women’s pay could increase 122 percent, or up to an additional $17,560 per year; Women could earn $87 for every $100 a man earns, helping to close the pay gap and lifting women’s total earnings by $11.4 billion nationwide.

Setting clear diversity targets, the research found, is a crucial step for leaders who want to strengthen their cultures.

Continuing in her remarks, Osungbesan stressed that “Culture is set from the top, so if women are to advance, gender equality must be a strategic priority for the C-suite,” noting that “It’s critical that companies create a truly human environment where people can be successful both professionally and personally – where they can be who they are and feel they belong, every day.”

Business Hilights gathered that the report, which builds on Accenture’s 2017 research on how digital fluency and technology can close the gender gap in the workplace, grouped the 14 core factors proven to influence advancement into three categories of bold leadership, comprehensive action and an empowering environment.

Key South African findings in the three categories include amongst others that; Bold leadership: Women are more likely to be on the fast track in organizations where leadership teams are held accountable, both internally and externally, for improving gender diversity (65 percent compared to 52 percent); and Comprehensive action: Involvement in a women’s network correlates with women’s advancement, but the vast majority (62 percent) of the women surveyed for the report work for organizations without such a network. In companies that have a women’s network, nine in 10 women (91 percent) participate, with most (89 percent) of those women in a women’s network that also includes men.

Also discovered in the studies include that an empowering environment: Among the factors linked to advancement are not asking employees to conform to a dress or appearance code, and giving employees the responsibility and freedom to be innovative and creative.

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