Full report
Published: 13 July 2022

Global Gender Gap Report 2022

2.4 Gender gaps in leadership, by industry and cohort

The broader labour-force participation data encompasses wider sectoral trends. The Global Gender Gap Index data measures the share of women and men who occupy professional and technical roles as well as senior official and manager roles. Women's share of senior and leadership roles has seen a steady global increase over the past five years (2017-2022). In 2022, global gender parity for this category reached 42.7%, the highest gender parity score yet.

Complementing these statistics, high-frequency data from LinkedIn for 155 countries explores women's representation in leadership, providing a snapshot of gender parity in business leadership in 2022. Overall, the global share of women in leadership roles as illustrated in this data is 31%, although shares vary by industry. In 2022, only select industries have levels near gender parity in leadership, such as Non-Governmental and Membership Organizations (47%), Education (46%), and Personal Services and Wellbeing (45%). At the other end of the range are Energy (20%), Manufacturing (19%) and Infrastructure (16%). The industry breakdown is shown in Figure 2.7.

However, the share of women in leadership has been increasing over time. As presented in Figure 2.8, women have been hired into leadership roles in increasing numbers since 2016. While the share of women hired into leadership was 33.3% in 2016 in this set of countries, it increased to 36.9% in 2022. Progress stalled during the pandemic, with the annual share of women hired into leadership positions holding at 35% between 2019 and 2020 but then increasing to 36% in 2021.

There is significant variation across industries in the rates of hiring women into leadership. On average, more women were hired into leadership in industries where women were already highly represented. Similarly, more men were higher into leadership positions in industries over-represented by men. Among the industries that hired the highest share of women into leadership positions in 2021 are Non-governmental and Membership Organizations (54%), Education (49%), Government and Public Sector (46%), Personal Services and Wellbeing (46%), Healthcare and Care Services (46%), and Media and Communications (46%). The first five are industries in which women's representation is generally higher than men's overall. In contrast, six industries hired significantly more men than women into leadership positions in 2021: Technology (30%), Agriculture (28%), Energy (25%), Supply Chain and Transportation (25%), Manufacturing (22%) and Infrastructure (21%). These are also the industries with the lowest share of female representation in the overall makeup of the industry.

Nonetheless, some industries are seeing an acceleration in their hiring of women into leadership. Relative to 2016, the industries showing the biggest improvement in their hiring rate for women into leadership are Technology, Energy, and Supply Chain and Transportation, as shown in Figure 2.9.

Industries with already high female representation still show a gender gap between the overall female representation across all roles and the representation of women in leadership. For example, women make up 62% of total workforce share in the Personal Services and Wellbeing industry, but only 45% of leadership share. This trend is mirrored in the Real Estate and Healthcare industries, which see a 16-percentage point difference between female representation in the industry and in leadership. While hiring more women at the entry level is an important component of closing gender gaps in leadership, it is not fully sufficient.

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