5 Troubling Stats About Gender Equality in the Workplace

January 4, 2018

Here are five troubling statistics from the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report.

It’s hard to believe, but 100 years ago in the United States, women didn’t even have the right to vote. And, while we’ve made great strides over the past century, we still have a long way to go.

That was proven again by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. The report – which leveraged LinkedIn data – showed that while some progress has been made, an even playing field the world is not.

Here are just five of the most worrisome stats from the Global Gender Gap Report:

1. At the current rate, it’ll take 217 years to close the economic gender gap.

Just think – if nothing changes, true equality in the workforce won’t be reached until the year 2234. Only then will women have the same earning and leadership potential as men.

Sounds like a good reason to speed up the rate of progress.

2. Women represent fewer than 50 percent of leaders in every industry analyzed.

The report leveraged LinkedIn data to analyze the gender gap across 12 industries. While some were more diverse than others, none were truly equal – in all 12, less than 50 percent of leaders were women.

In some industries, like energy and manufacturing, representation of women is far lower, with women holding fewer than 20 percent of leadership positions.

3. Over the past ten years, the proportion of female leaders increased by an average of just over 2 percentage points across the 12 industries studied.

Progress, but not exactly stunning progress. Which is why true equality won’t be reached until 2234.

4. Historically female-dominated industries tend to pay less than those with higher male representation.

Another troubling sign. The report found that female-dominated industries like education and the nonprofit sector pay less than male-dominated industries.

Perhaps even more worrisome: the report found that when women enter a profession in large numbers, pay tends to decrease in that industry, relative to others.

5. When women are better represented in leadership roles, more women are hired across the board.

The sole stat that isn’t troubling and one that points to a solution. As more women become leaders in an industry, more women work in that industry, which leads to even more women leaders.

"Our analysis found a strong correlation between representation of women in leadership positions in a given industry and hiring rates for additional women leaders," the LinkedIn Economic Graph Team wrote. "The challenge of increasing the proportion of women leaders is then a Catch-22: it seems the way to get more women into leadership is by already having women in leadership."

*Image from Krista Kennell, Flickr

Looking for resources that can help? Check out the free LinkedIn Learning course Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.