Women in the digital transformation

A group of women talking in a board room

Written by Elisabeth Oppenauer, MDI Management Development International, Learning & Development Consultant, Project Lead, Team Lead

In December we followed a very exciting invitation from Google Ireland – the invitation to the Women@CE Event. The focus of this event was “Lateral Leadership” and inspired us to take a deeper look at the topic of women in the digital age.

Why is Apple’s iPhone the most valuabe product in the world? It’s not because it’s the technologically most advanced smartphone on the market. It’s because this product is designed to be intuitive and do the things as they are expected by the users and to react to how they feel. Attributes that are more considered to be female than male. Why are the high-tech and digital technology sector still dominated by men? Let’s dive deeper in this topic an have a look on surprising survey results.


Why women matter in the digital Transformation

Many might agree that especially the high-tech industry, compared to other industries, lacks gender diversity in executive positions. One cannot sugarcoat this fact: high-tech knowhow and outstanding programming skills are automatically credited to men rather than to women. To find a meaningful access to digital transformation processes, it’s worth to take a different perspective: Digital technology is more than tech coding. It’s equally about people and changes.

Today, in our digital, technological and VUCA-driven world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), leaders need new skills to persist and achieve sustainable successes. The unavoidable Digital Transformation leads to the search for the right digital knowhow and qualified employees and confronts leaders as well as us in HR with challenges. And I am convinced: Companies cannot afford to ignore the influence and skills of female employees. A new study shows fascinating insights in approaches and handling regarding the disruption and transformation of female leaders:

The study “Global Female Leaders” (a common study of Harvard Business Review) asked 699 global female leaders in 42 different countries about their experiences and thoughts regarding the Digital Transformation. 64% of the surveyed global female leaders hold positions such as management boards members, CEOs, C-Level Executive or vice president and 60% have been working in the same company for at least 6 years. 37% of the respondents work in companies with a revenue higher than 500 million US dollar and the companies are situated in 14 key industries, such as the service, bank or retail sector. We compiled the most important results the survey found for you:


Personal factors of success of global female leaders

According to above-mentioned study, personal factors of success play a crucial role for global female leaders. Following order was found:

1 – Active personal network
2 – Strong communicative skills
3 – Good knowhow about new technologies
4 – Having courage to make unpopular decisions

All these aspects support the work with new technologies in a highly digital surrounding. In fact, it’s interesting that global female leaders younger than 35 rate a good network in their own company as more important than other age ranges.


Will there be a change in the executive positions?

The answer to this question can also be found in the study: 59% of the respondents think, that their successor will be female.

If you take a closer look at the executive and vice-president level, the number of estimated female successors drop to 39%. If we concentrate on the level of board members and CEOS, the development of male and female successors is expected to be spread more equally, while if only heads of department and functional head levels are considered, a pleasing number of 62% thinks that their successor will be female.

With regard to their next career step, 28% of the surveyed women plan to stay in their current company. Still, 35% expect their next job to be in a different company and 37% of them are still unsure where they will be employed in the future. This openness for new professional opportunities can be interpreted as a big sign of flexibility of global female leaders.

Another striking result is the strong correlation between the response and the time span the participants spent in their current company.

Only 18% of the global female leaders who spent less than 5 years with their current employer expect to climb the career ladder in their previous company.

Of the respondents, that spent more than 10 years in the same company, only 27% expect their next career step to be in a different company than their current and to leave their employer on purpose to reach their next position as a board member or CEO.


Conclusion – Women are ready for the digital transformation

The Digital Transformation lead to changes in almost every organization. Many new chances and opportunities arise, but only for companies which know how and how fast they need to adapt.

The results of the study show: women are well prepared for a digital future. They have the personal and professional skills that are needed to succeed in a digital surrounding and have a strong focus on communication and networking. They feel comfortable with new technologies, trust data and their analyses and are willing to invest into innovative cooperations to enlarge their success.

Die Digitale Transformation hat zu Veränderungen in beinahe jedem Unternehmen geführt. Es entstehen somit viele Chancen, allerdings nur für Unternehmen, die auch wissen wie und wie schnell sie sich verändern müssen.

Still, we must not forget: the most crucial part is to find, explore and develop competences and talents – independent from gender or origins.

Originally posted here

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