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Bangkok, Thailand; April 27, 2016 – Digitally savvy women are helping to close the gender gap in the workplace. And digital fluency, the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, plays a key role in helping women achieve gender equality and level the playing field.
A new research report from Accenture (NYSE:ACN), ), Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work, provides empirical proof that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work. The report provides ample evidence that digital fluency acts as an accelerant at every stage of a woman’s career—a powerful one in both education and employment, and an increasingly important factor for advancing into the ranks of leadership.
The research showed that globally 7 in 10 (68 percent men, 72 percent women) said digital is enabling more flexible ways to work, which will allow more women to enter, remain or return to the workforce. Additionally nearly two-thirds (68 percent) are confident that digital has the power to level the playing field for women. Women in developing markets are more optimistic than women in developed markets (80 percent and 62 percent, respectively). Approximately (71 percent) of men and women alike said the digital world would empower their daughters.
If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, versus 50 years at the current pace. Gender equality in the workplace could be achieved in 45 years in developing nations, versus 85 years at the current pace.
“Women represent an untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent available,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer. “There is a clear opportunity for governments and businesses to collaborate on efforts that will empower more women with digital skills—and accelerate gender equality in the workforce.”
Currently, women make up 38 percent of Accenture’s global workforce and 18 percent of Accenture Leadership. And 28 percent of our executives (manager and above) are women. Women accounted for more than 28 percent of Accenture’s new managing directors and senior managing directors – up from 21 percent the year prior. Accenture has pledged to grow. We have pledged to grow the percentage of women we hire to at least 40 percent worldwide by 2017.
In Thailand women comprise 48 percent of Accenture’s total workforce, 56 percent of its Managing Director level executives and 44 percent of all of its executives.
Although digital fluency clearly helps women train for and gain employment, the relationship between digital fluency and women’s advancement is not as significant. This is expected to change as more millennial women and digital natives move into management; the research found that in the United States, six in 10 millennial women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions.
The research found that 49 percent of all working women and 56 percent of millennial women aspire to be in leadership positions. More than half of all working women and 56 percent of millennial women feel they have the right skills to be a leader, according to survey results.
While the research determined that digital fluency is having a positive impact on pay for both men and women, the gap in pay between genders is still not closing. Men are, by far, the dominant earners by household across all three generations–Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers.
“There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a very promising avenue,” said Intira Laomeepol Managing Director – Technology Group Accenture in Thailand.
“This is a powerful message for all women and girls. Continuously developing and growing your ability to use digital technologies, both at home and in the workplace, has a clear and positive effect at every stage of your career. And it provides a distinct advantage, as businesses and governments seek to fill the jobs that support today’s growing economy.”
To identify and better understand the role of digital fluency in workforce gender equality, the Accenture Digital Fluency Model was developed. A survey was conducted in December 2015 and January 2016 of more than 4,900 women and men in 31 countries to assess the extent to which people are using digital technologies in their personal and home life, as well as in their education and work. The sample included equal representation of working men and women, representing three generations (Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers) across all workforce levels at companies of varying size. The margin of error for the total sample was approximately +/- 1.4 percent. Digital technologies include virtual coursework, digital collaboration tools (webcams, instant messaging), social media platforms and use of digital devices, such as smart phones. Survey responses were combined with published reports and publicly available information on education, employment and leadership and research from the World Bank, the OECD, World Economic Forum and the ITU World Telecommunication. Countries included in the Model are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greater China (includes Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden), Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network–Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With approximately 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.