A.T. Kearney: Gender parity telecommunications lacking

28 April 2015 Consultancy.uk

Gender diverse companies are 45% more likely to improve market share, achieve 53% higher returns on equity, and are 70% more likely to report successfully capturing new markets, yet in the telecommunications industry gender parity remains painfully far. In a recent report, A.T. Kearney considers the state of gender balance within the telecommunications industry and ways to bring the scales in balance.

Female boon
Diversity is good for business. Companies that have a diverse workforce are considerably better at innovation and outperform their competition. This has been shown across a number of studies, including a report by BCG, highlighting that gender diverse companies achieve 53% higher returns on equity. While the empirical, quantitative and qualitative benefits of having diverse workforces have been show conclusively, and with leaders from around the world at The APEC CEO Summit and the G20 Summit in 2014 recognising the pivotal role of women in development and prosperity, the paradox remains why diversity isn’t everywhere.


A.T. Kearney recently released the results of a study highlighting that diversity is far from reached in the telecommunications industry, especially in management and upper management positions. The study, which covered 54 companies across the globe, with on average 12,900 employees, involves expert interviews, case studies and surveys and aims to provide a baseline, share best practices, and support the industry in making positive progress towards bridging the gender gap.

The research shows that female participation in the telecommunication industry varies wildly – between 10% and 52% – and that women account for less than 40% of the workforce in three-quarters of telecommunications companies surveyed. In the senior ranks, participation rates drop off further. In Europe 20% of senior managers in telecommunications sector are female, while entry level acquisition is 43%. In America 31% will make it into a senior position, with 40% of entrants female. The Middle East and Africa have particularly high barriers in place to female leadership, at 13% and 9% respectively.

Average gender diversity profile of telecommunications companies

Finding balance
Telecommunications – since the end of the switchboard – is often perceived as a male career path, with the qualifications required to enter into a career within the industry often seen as more ‘male’ qualifications. One thing to change is this perception.

In North American and Europe, senior management is predominantly drawn from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and finance/business degrees degree. With the share of women with science and engineering degrees only 38% (North America) and 25% (Europe), challenging this perception is one way in which the consultancy believes a gender balance may be restored.

Women in STEM

Other methods include planning talent management and promotion initiatives, such as grooming high-talent women early toward senior management; reducing unconscious biases by various methods; investing in tailored training and mentoring as it is widely recognised that women approach personal development, leadership, and self-promotion differently than men; back-to-work programmes, where people out of work for family reasons are appropriated with tailored training, is also seen as a key measure to improve gender diversity; and looking beyond the industry: companies can expedite gender diversity by recruiting outside the company or even the industry.

Changing the business culture
According to the consulting firm, important features to be adopted within the company culture include a long term diversity vision and strategy, visible and vocal leadership, aspirational annual targets, and a relentless commitment to closely monitor the impact of individual initiatives.

The authors conclude: “The industry needs to be more systematic and relentless in sharing and adopting best practices with a full commitment to a diverse workforce while respecting local cultural norms and legal obligations.”


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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.