Women in Business 2021

Women in senior leadership positions pass critical 30% mark

Women in senior leadership positions pass critical 30% mark despite global pandemic.

The number of women holding senior leadership positions in mid-market businesses globally has hit 31% despite the COVID-19 pandemic aecting economies around the world.

Seeing the proportion of women leaders rise to 31% is encouraging, given the global figure remained stubbornly stuck at 29% for the previous two years (2019 and 2020). It also passes the important 30% threshold, which research1 shows is the minimum representation needed to change decision-making processes. All regions surveyed except for APAC (28%) have now surpassed the crucial 30% milestone.

Another encouraging finding is the types of leadership roles women are occupying. Grant Thornton’s research reveals higher numbers of women across operational C-suite roles compared to last year, with the proportion of female CEOs up 6pp to 26%, female CFOs also up 6pp to 36%, and female COOs up 4pp to 22%. The proportion of women in the more traditional senior HR roles was down slightly at 38% (-2pp on 2020),and has trended downwards since 2019.

While the number of women in leadership roles has grown, questions remain over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women, particularly working mothers.

We share a brief summary [ 1675 kb ] of the global findings and effort placed across Saudi Arabia which will support inclusion.