DDI Data Reveals Women Leaders Are Critical to Creating Inclusive Cultures, Yet Miss Out on Core Development Experiences

March 8, 2024

DDI Commemorates International Women’s Day with New Women in Leadership Analysis & Insights

PITTSBURGH, March 8, 2024 - DDI, a global leadership company, today commemorates International Women’s Day by releasing new data analysis on women in leadership. Alongside the release, DDI is hosting a live webinar for current and emerging women leaders and allies.

The data, drawn from DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2023 with responses from 1,826 human resource professionals and 13,695 leaders across the world—including over 4,000 women leaders—dives into advancement opportunities for women in the workplace and the impact of women leaders on inclusion. Key findings from the analysis include:

  • More women leaders support a more inclusive environment: Organizations with an above-average* proportion of women leaders are 1.9x more likely to be rated as having an inclusive culture than those with fewer women. *“Above-average” means having 30% or more women in senior roles and 40% or more women in leadership roles at lower levels.  
  • Fewer women receive formal mentors: On average, only 24% of women leaders have had a formal mentor, compared to 30% of men. This gap widens at the senior leadership level, where only 27% of women have had a formal mentor (compared to 38% of men).
  • Women miss opportunities for key executive responsibilities: Women leaders are less likely to be given profit and loss (P&L) responsibility, a crucial stepping stone for advancing into C-suite roles. Among men at the senior executive and C-suite level, 79% had managed a P&L function. However, only 67% of executive and C-suite women leaders reported having P&L responsibility.
  • Women lag in receiving critical development support: In their current roles, women were 12% less likely than men to receive leadership skills training and 15% less likely to be assessed to gain insights on their strengths and development gaps as a leader. Lacking this support, especially in vulnerable moments such as transitions to a new leadership role, threatens leaders’ long-term engagement and success.
  • Inclusion benefits everyone: In male-dominated companies (companies with fewer than the average number of women leaders), men are more likely than women to recognize a lack of inclusivity. In these organizations, 39% of men say their culture is not inclusive of different perspectives. Meanwhile, only 24% of women say the same. By contrast, in organizations with greater than the average number of women leaders, only 22% of men say their culture isn’t inclusive. 

“Our research shows the business case for developing, advancing and retaining women leaders couldn’t be stronger,” said Tacy M. Byham, Ph.D., CEO of DDI. “Women leaders are driving more inclusive cultures and stronger financial performance for their organizations—yet the problem of women’s disproportionately low representation at the top persists. Our data reveals many women are not getting the leadership development support they need to progress and are turning elsewhere, with women 1.5x more likely to leave their companies to advance their careers than men. To avoid losing out on this valuable talent, companies need to turn their attention toward creating workplaces that enable women to thrive.”

For more data and recommendations—including how women leaders impact companies’ bottom line, what women in STEM care most about and how to retain women leaders—visit ddiworld.com/blog/women-leadership-statistics.

For strategies to strengthen inclusion, trust and belonging, register for DDI’s “Inspire Inclusion: A Better Future for Women in the Workplace” webinar today (March 8) at 9am EST. Join Dr. Byham and Dominique Powrie, Managing Director of DDI Australia, live for the webinar or watch the recording after.

About DDI

DDI is a global leadership company that helps organizations hire, promote and develop exceptional leaders. From first-time managers to C-suite executives, DDI is by leaders' sides, supporting them in every critical moment of leadership. Built on five decades of research and experience in the science of leadership, DDI's evidence-based assessment and development solutions enable millions of leaders around the world to succeed, propelling their organizations to new heights. For more information, visit ddiworld.com.

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