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The Decline in Women’s Leadership Roles and How Organisations Can Help


women in a board room meeting

Despite decades of progress, the number of women hired into senior leadership roles is on a decline globally.


In 2023, only 36.9% of leadership hires were women, down from 37.5% the previous year, and this downward trend continued into 2024, with just 36.4% of leadership hires being women as of April.


The latest data from LinkedIn, featured in the World Economic Forum's 2024 Global Gender Gap Report, shows issues within gender equality in the workplace.


 

A Global Challenge Reflected in the UK


The United Kingdom reflects this global trend, with the percentage of women hired into leadership positions dropping from 37.8% in 2022 to 37.1% in 2024. This decline can be seen as shocking, given that women are more likely to show critical soft skills such as team leadership, strategic leadership, and collaboration - skills that are 28% more prevalent among women.


While the overall representation of women in leadership in the UK has increased by 1.8 percentage points since 2018, significant challenges remain. Women constitute 46.9% of entry-level positions but only 34.3% at the director level. This "seniority slump" highlights the systemic barriers that hinder women's career progression.


 

GLP programmes in Leadership


By joining one of our many leadership courses at GLP Training, this enables individuals to thrive in future management roles and help bridge this gap.


Additionally, GLP Training provides a wide array of course types, ensuring individuals can find the ideal fit for their schedules and select the course that will offer them the greatest benefit.


Explore GLP Training's Options in Leadership Courses Now:


Apprenticeships:

















Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs):











 

Recommendations in Addressing Gender Inequality


Furthermore, to address these gender imbalances, the report suggests several strategies:


Adopting a Skills-First Approach to Hiring

Organisations should focus on the skills candidates bring to the table rather than their past job titles or experiences.


This approach can help identify capable women who might be overlooked due to traditional hiring biases.

Implementing Inclusive and Fair Hiring Practices

Encouraging Flexible Working Arrangements

Providing Up-skilling and Career Growth Opportunities

Ensuring Accurate Training including AI Developments in the Workplace


 

Steps Organisations Can Take


To promote a skills-first approach and ensure fair opportunities for women, organisations can implement the following steps:


Revise Job Descriptions

Focus on the essential skills and competencies required for the role, rather than a list of qualifications that may be discouraging for women who are willing to apply.

Blind Recruitment Processes

Structured Interviews

Inclusive Workplace Culture

Transparent Career Pathways


 

The decline in women’s leadership hires is a reminder of the ongoing challenges in achieving gender equality in the workplace. However, by adopting a skills-first approach to hiring and implementing inclusive practices, organisations can help reverse this trend.


Embracing flexibility, providing growth opportunities, and ensuring equitable training can pave the way for more women to get into senior leadership roles, ultimately creating a more diverse and innovative workforce.


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