Willis Towers Watson leaders discuss workplace gender equity

Willis Towers Watson leaders discuss workplace gender equity

 October 25, 2021

Working for an employer that consistently strives for gender equity in the workplace can be very rewarding.

Leading global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson provides its colleagues with a culture of inclusion and diversity. The company also helps further businesses manage their people, risk and capital.

Through an insightful article, Willis Towers Watson Senior Director of Talent and Rewards, Rhonda Elcock, and Senior Director of Talent Analytics, Shekar Nalle Pilli Venkateswara, discuss how gender equity in the workplace begins with equal access for women to pay, benefits and career opportunities.


Gender equity in the workplace requires equitable access to opportunities

This Willis Towers Watson article highlights that, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report, during the COVID-19 pandemic the gender pay gap grew to 136 years from 99.5 years just before the pandemic. This means the time it would take for women to reach pay parity with men grew more than 36%. WEF identified women’s limited access to economic opportunities as the most critical area of gender-related inequality.

Willis Towers Watson suggests that achieving gender equity in the workplace is not just about base salary, but more importantly about enabling equitable access to opportunities.

The pandemic has sparked a rethinking of flexible work options

Willis Towers Watson's annual surveys on workforce analytics have found the pay gap is heavily driven by low female representation at higher levels in organizations and in jobs with higher earning potential (and subsequently, higher representation in lower income levels). Under-representation at higher levels also leads to a higher tendency to experience lower outcomes in different areas such as access to healthcare, financial savings, job security and wellbeing. The disparity is further exacerbated for women who are also part of other under-represented workforce groups (e.g., race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities).

Today, only around 7% of Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs and only about a third of senior management roles globally are held by women. These numbers are better than they were three years ago, but the male voices still far outnumber female voices in areas of influence. It remains tough for women in general to break the glass ceiling and access career boosts that are usually tied to higher-paying jobs, such as incentive eligibility and skills development. But things may be improving for women as options for the way we work have changed and expanded dramatically.

The increased prevalence of flexible work options resulting from the pandemic has sparked rethinking of how, when and where work gets done across the range of jobs and skills within an organization. This has also inspired rethinking of long-term career equity objectives, particularly the long-overdue focus on supporting opportunities for women.

Identifying and understanding diverse experiences, needs and preferences

The Willis Towers Watson article suggests ways organizations can start strong on their journey toward female gender equity in the workplace:

  • Enable employees to forge their own career journeys 
  • Broaden pay equity analytics
  • Enhance female employees’ financial stability through flexible financial education
  • Foster a culture of social wellbeing and workplace dignity
  • Integrate flexibility into strategic workforce planning and management
  • Leverage workforce analytics in correcting organizational imbalances
  • Expand accessibility and diversity of development programs

Read the full article by Rhonda Elcock and Shekar Nalle Pilli Venkateswara.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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