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‘Sub-Saharan Africa records more gender parity in workforce’

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A research has shown that more organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa are recording advanced gender parity in workforce, with appointment of women in key leadership positions.

The study conducted by Mercer South Africa revealed that more women are becoming chief executive officers, joining corporate boards and appointed to high-level ministerial positions in governments.

The report of the research on Sub-Saharan Africa, titled When Women Thrive 2020, also revealed that key areas such as advancing and retaining female employees have shown some progress over the past few years.

Mercer found that women in about 94 per cent of organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa have equal access to roles that lead to advancement into leadership positions, which is significantly higher than the global average of 79 per cent.

Chief Executive Officer, Mercer South Africa, Tamara Parker explained: “In our findings, 88 per cent of respondents in this region report that their organisations are already focused on improving diversity and inclusion. This is an incredibly positive sign that backs up progress we have seen in a few countries such as Rwanda, South Africa and Ethiopia.

“Another positive aspect advancing workforce gender parity is equal access to opportunities – 56 per cent have talent management practices in place for high-potential women, compared to 35 per cent globally. Additionally, 78 per cent of organisations say women are equally likely as men to move across business units and/or geographies, as compared to the global average of 71 per cent.”

With the rising pressure to address areas where organisations appear to fall short, Mercer highlights that 82 per cent of respondents said pay equity was part of their organisation’s compensation philosophy or strategy, as compared to 74 per cent globally.

“Moreover, 78 per cent of organisations have a team formally responsible for conducting pay equity analysis compared to 72 per cent globally,” the report added.

On direct involvement in diversity and inclusion initiatives and programmes, Parker said: “In organisations where a diverse workforce and inclusive culture is flourishing, senior leaders and board members play an important role.

“Senior executives in sub-Saharan Africa are helping to support cultural transformation by sponsoring meetings, publicly positioning diversity and inclusion as a business imperative and participating as members of internal diversity councils, that is, 48 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa versus 43 per cent globally.”


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