Our Research


Our Research

Industry Perspective:

Women In Leadership and Gender Parity

Workplace equality between the sexes has long been a challenge for organizations worldwide. Women make up almost half¹ of the workforce, yet the majority of them are still not receiving equal compensation² or equal opportunities to develop and advance. While progress has been made through awareness efforts and education, a challenging environment still exists for women – and especially for women leaders aspiring to executive leadership roles. When respondents to Brandon Hall Group’s Women in Leadership Study were asked to rate their organizations on gender parity, 12% said they had an equal number of men and women in C-level positions.

¹Women comprised 47% of the civilian U.S. workforce in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

²Overall, women earned 78.6% of what men earned in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

How Organizations Rate Gender Parity Among Executive Leadership



Above Average




Below Average




Only 10% of organizations overall, and 12% of high-performing organizations³, have women in at least 50% of C-Suite positions. This is in spite of the fact that 97% of respondents say that the interest in having women advance to executive positions, including CEO, has remained the same or increased over the past few years. There are several barriers for women leaders to overcome, the most frequent one being inadequate management of the leadership pipeline.


*Shown below are the top 3 barriers.

³High-performing organizations are shown through survey results to see overall year-over-year improvement across these criteria: employee engagement, organizational revenue/performance, customer satisfaction, voluntary turnover, and organizational productivity.

Top Barriers to Leadership for Women






Inadequate management of leadership pipeline

Limited targeted development to grow women's leadership capabilities

Lack of role models

Lack of gender diversity awareness among management

Lack of appreciation for expertise women can offer

Notable Insight

We have seen great examples of diverse leadership teams cascaded throughout an organization. However, these examples are still too limited and gender inequality continues to present a cultural divide among peers, creating distrust and friction that ultimately derail organizations from achieving their greatest potential.

Become a Brandon Hall Group Member

Membership unlocks answers to questions that every organization needs in order to excel in today's fast-changing business environment.

About Brandon Hall Group

Brandon Hall Group is a research and analyst firm, with more than 10,000 clients globally and 25 years of delivering research-based solutions that empower excellence in organizations around the world through our research and tools each and every day. Our vision is to inspire a better workplace experience. Our mission is to empower excellence in organizations around the world through our research and tools each and every day.

Stay in touch

Join Our Community

© 2018 Brandon Hall Group, Inc.