Confronting the early-career gender gap

By Kevin Sneader and Lareina Yee - Published on McKinsey & Company

To achieve workforce parity, businesses should apply the same practices they are using against the glass ceiling.

Commitment to gender parity at the senior level in companies has been on the rise, and we are starting to see results. The average C-suite has 24 percent more women than in 2015. The share of open roles going to women is rising, through either promotions or hiring.

That progress engenders more progress: C-suite members have an outsize impact on promoting diversity and inclusion in their companies. They also are visible role models to other women coming up the ranks.

Still, we shouldn’t confuse progress with parity. To create workplaces where young men and women progress equally into top-level business leaders, we must address a glaring gender disparity at the very first rung of the corporate ladder. While women account for 48 percent of entry-level hires, they account for just 38 percent of first-level managers, according to the 2019 Women in the Workplace study we at McKinsey developed together with LeanIn.Org.