Decrease in Number of Women in Senior Management Roles in Ireland

12th March 2024

This year marks the 20th year of Grant Thornton’s work to monitor and measure the proportion of women occupying senior management roles in mid-market companies around the world.

Chair of Grant Thornton Ireland Sinead Donovan commented on the Women in Business Report findings and said: There is no doubt that the landscape has shifted in the past decade and gender parity is very much on the agenda of policymakers, the c-suite, and people leaders in organisations. It is also heartening, for the most part, to see the value that is now being placed on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) policies across businesses in all sectors.”

However, although progress has certainly been made, it’s been disappointingly slow.

At the current rate of change, the mid-market will not reach parity on women in senior management roles until 2053.

The Women in Business Report reminds us that progress in the area of gender parity is fragile and can be knocked easily,” observed Sinead. Although there was only a small increase in the number of women in senior management roles across the world this year (+1.1%), Ireland appears to be fairing far worse off with ‘“a very alarming 10% decrease in the number of women in senior management roles in Ireland,”’ she added.

While Grant Thornton’s research can measure progress, it can also help us to understand what needs to change to accelerate it – to identify the business configurations that can drive change and provide actionable steps businesses can take.

“This year’s Women in Business Report speaks to two decades of insights gathered by Grant Thornton and proposes three clear pathways to increasing the number of women in senior management roles,” said Sinead.

“These include appointing a member of the c-suite in businesses to help steer the direction, developing robust DE&I strategies with tangible outputs, and ensuring there is a flexible working arrangement that supports employees.

“Gender parity is a real opportunity and should be regarded in that light. Business leaders have an onus to ensure we continue to move in that direction, and I would really call for a greater sense of urgency in boardrooms to develop a pathway to truly achieving gender parity. I believe we need to see the pace of progress quicken in this regard,” she concluded.

The pathways are there – it’s now up to businesses to follow them.