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Employers at an Inflection Point with Gender Pay Equity


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Four years after Mercer released its “When Women Thrive, Businesses Thrive” research, the consulting firm says an inflection point has arrived for organizations.

Citing the World Economic Forum’s annual “Global Gender Gap Report,” Mercer reported that employers have a choice: either seize the opportunity to focus on the deterioration of women’s economic standing and the issue of gender parity, or watch the potential for women’s progress slip away.

In its report, the Forum calculated that, at the current rate of change, it will take 217 years to close the economic gap between the sexes — 47 years longer than projected in 2016 and 99 years longer than predicted in 2015. Women aren’t expected to reach economic parity with men until 2234, before the effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is fully realized. Not only will the revolution transform labor markets and displace jobs, it also will have a disproportionate effect on women.

Mercer’s latest research, “Accelerating for Impact: 2018 Gender Inflection Point,” sets out to further understand the drivers of female advancement, actionable steps for organizations and the type of model for change that’s needed.

Overall, organizations must take a holistic look at the future of women in the workforce, from the barriers that set them back to the need for system accelerators to change their trajectory. Other points examined include:

  • How data and analytics can and must be used to accelerate women’s careers, even in the face of headwinds such as job disruptions brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • New data and insights around managing the health and wealth of employees in the context of gender differences. Mercer’s research shares new findings and recommendations for helping women better manage their roles as caretakers and chief medical officers for themselves and their families as well as improving their financial security.
  • How organizations can lead courageously to tackle the challenging problem of driving deep cultural change to support progress on a topic that can challenge individuals’ core beliefs in a polarized landscape.

“We find ourselves at a rare inflection point, navigating broad and potentially game-changing conversations about how women are faring in the workplace and beyond,” said Pat Milligan, global leader of Mercer’s “When Women Thrive” platform. “Everyone — from investors, shareholders, board members and leaders to employees and customers — is aligning on this issue and paying attention like never before.”