Oceania leads the C-suite regional forecasts, with nearly 9% projected growth, and is the only region projected to achieve a 30% share of women in C-suite roles over the next decade (figure 1). This is important, as research shows that reaching this 30% threshold is often considered the tipping point for enacting substantive change across an organization.4 North America and Europe are both expected to exceed 6% growth in women in the C-suite by 2030.
Asia and Oceania are the only regions expected to record growth in the share of women across all role categories—C-suite, senior leadership, and next generation—by 2030. Meanwhile, with a 28.3% share in 2021 and forecasted growth to 33.5% by 2030, Africa leads all regions in current and projected growth in the share of women in senior leadership roles.
That said, our analysis indicates that North America, South America, Europe, and Africa, also reflect a decline in the share of women in one or more role categories by 2030.5
Viewing these numbers with an industry lens, women’s share of leadership roles within FSIs compares favorably across 11 industries, according to S&P Global’s Gender equality in the workplace report.6
Drivers of change
But the numbers only tell part of the narrative. The programs and strategies that FSIs enact to increase the representation of women in leadership are the ultimate drivers of sustainable, long-term change.
External factors, such as public policy, cultural norms, investor expectations, and corporate social responsibility initiatives can impact gender equity progress. Legislative actions to achieve diversity quotas or government-backed nonbinding board diversity targets vary by country. Some countries, such as Finland and Sweden, look to self-regulation to increase the ratio of women on boards.7 Australia, which also doesn’t have legislative mandates, averages 32% representation of women on boards,8 and is notably influencing our Oceania estimate of a greater than 30% share of women in the C-suite by 2030.
While legislative approaches are primarily aimed at increasing gender diversity on boards, Germany and, more recently, France have set nonboard gender diversity targets for institutions.9 Illustrating that a greater number of women in leadership roles tends to influence board diversity, Deloitte’s Women in the boardroom research has shown that organizations with women CEOs have almost double the number of board seats held by women.10 Our research shows that this phenomenon also applies at the organizational level when looking at the ratio of C-suite to senior leadership levels in FSIs.
Finally, many investors are also monitoring and advocating for gender diversity on boards and within the leadership ranks.11 Credit Suisse’s 2021 “Gender 3000” research found a “diversity premium,” defined as a correlation between more gender-diverse leadership and higher returns on capital, among other financial measures.12
Regardless of region, here are some actions FSIs should consider now that can help improve gender equity:
- Address persistent challenges, such as child care needs and remote work options—both amplified during the pandemic—to demonstrate their commitment to recruiting, retaining, and supporting women.
- Ensure FSI leaders offer continued support through sponsorship, mentorship, and allyship programs and networking opportunities for women at all levels. This is especially important during the pandemic when many employees are working remotely.
- Evaluate and refine succession-planning and promotion practices to ensure each opportunity is pulling from a diverse slate of candidates. This can help build a diverse pipeline of future leaders.