Organisations across the world are using international mobility experiences to develop future leaders and advance the careers of key talent. Yet despite unprecedented demand, women currently only account for 20% of international assignees. To investigate such disconnects and help organisations address them, PwC has conducted research that brings together the views of 134 global mobility executives and 3,937 professionals from over 40 countries. We’re now publishing the findings in a new thought leadership paper, Modern mobility: Moving women with purpose.
According to Dennis Nally, Chairman, PwC International, diverse teams deliver better decisions and more creative solutions. He contests that companies capitalising on underutilised talent demographics win in the marketplace. This is one of the findings having interviewed PwC most senior female leaders. Without exception they had one thing in common: a mobility experience.
In some instances that involved moving through a series of industry groups, sometimes it meant rotations in different business units; most often it was a significant geographical move or international assignment.
PwC recent female millennial research highlighted that female millennials are more highly-educated, career confident and ambitious than previous generations and are entering the workforce in larger numbers. Their demand for mobility has also never been higher. While 71% of female millennials want to work outside their home country during their career, women account for a meagre 20% of current international assignees. Our Modern mobility: Moving women with purpose study probes this disconnect and includes the combined insights of 134 global mobility executives and 3,937 professionals from over 40 countries.
PwC is excited to launch our Modern mobility: Moving women with purpose study focused on gender inclusive mobility programmes. At PwC, we believe supporting the international career aspirations of women is an important part of the solution to achieving gender equality.
The good news is that there are ways to overcome the barriers unearthed in this study – some can be tackled quickly, others will take time. Let me share a few key findings.
Aoife Flood, lead researcher and author on Modern mobility: moving women with purpose, shares an overview of the report’s key findings: Ten critical themes emerge – each presenting opportunities to increase female mobility
Mobility brand and strategy matter
To attract, hire and develop female talent, organisations must develop a talent brand that incorporates international experiences. Here at PwC, international exposure is a critical part of our employee value proposition. I invite you to have a look at PwC Germany’s international internship programme Stairway. It was built specifically for outstanding students who are open to new challenges in an international and intercultural working environment. It’s just one of the many ways we incorporate international mobility in our talent brand.
Right data analytics needed to explode stereotypes
Organisations don’t have a good enough understanding of their employees’ willingness and readiness to be internationally mobile. Equally, employees don’t feel international opportunities are transparent. To meet business needs, develop talent and become a world-class international employer, organisations need to have a better understanding of both needs and talent.
Incorrect assumptions, for example that women with children don’t want to go on assignments, create barriers to increased levels of female mobility. In fact, this research highlights that 41% of the female respondents who told us they want to undertake an international assignment are parents, compared with 40% of men.
By having the right data analytics in place – including who’s eager to move – companies can create more gender inclusive mobility. At PwC we use our data to tell us where we are and where we can do better. For example, we know that early opportunity for international exposure is highly valued by our millennial talent. So we are more focused on enabling those early opportunities. For the past six years, at least 44% of our long-term assignments below manager level have consistently been female, with over 1,317 female talent deploying to, and from, 95 countries.
Resolving diversity disconnects
While 60% of multinationals are employing mobility to develop their succession pipeline of future leaders, only 22% are actively trying to increase their levels of female mobility. Furthermore, only 22% of global mobility leaders say their mobility and diversity strategies are aligned. These findings highlight a number of critical diversity disconnects that must be resolved.
CEOs and their leadership teams must lead the effort to increase awareness – providing women with the critical experiences required to progress their career, including opportunities such as an international assignment. Global mobility, diversity and talent management professionals need to collaborate in support of international people strategies.
Find out more about our international mobility research at www.pwc.com/movingwomenwithpurpose.
Female demand for international mobility at an all-time high
Did you know that we are experiencing a time of unprecedented – and as yet unmet – female demand for international mobility? 71% of female millennials want to work outside their home country during their career, but only 20% of the current internationally mobile population are women. Faced with today’s fast-changing workforce demographics, global mobility strategies that do not fully include women will simply not deliver to their full potential.
The female role model gap
Less than half of women (49%) agree that their organisation has enough female role models with successful international assignment experiences. This shortcoming is negatively impacting employers’ wider female talent and global mobility programmes. Organisations must take active measure to drive higher awareness of the positive experiences of female assignees.