Digital skills narrow workplace gender gap
March 3, 2016
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Digitally-savvy women are helping to close the gender gap in the workplace, according to a report released today by Accenture. And digital fluency, the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, plays a key role in helping women achieve gender equality and level the playing field, it said.
The firm says that a new research report from Accenture Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work, “provides empirical proof that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work. While women still lag behind men in digital fluency in all but a handful of countries, improving their digital skills can change the picture.
“If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, versus 50 years at the current pace. Gender equality in the workplace could be achieved in 45 years in developing nations, versus 85 years at the current pace.”
Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer, said that women represent an “untapped talent pool that can help fill the gap between the skills needed to stay competitive and the talent available. There is a clear opportunity for governments and businesses to collaborate on efforts that will empower more women with digital skills – and accelerate gender equality in the workforce.”
Although digital fluency helps women advance in their careers, its impact has not closed the gender gap among executives — or extended to pay equality, the consulting firm said, adding that men are still, by far, the dominant earners by household for all three generations.
This will change as more millennial women and digital natives move into management. The research found that, in Canada, 34% of millennial and gen X women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions.
Digital fluency among women in Canada is strong, ranking fifth among all countries surveyed, according to the research model. Canadian women did better than their male counterparts in using digital to secure and improve educational opportunities, but are behind when it comes to career advancement — one of the largest gaps between men and women across the report.
“There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a particularly powerful avenue,” said Bill Morris, President and Senior Managing Director at Accenture in Canada. “Although gender equality will not happen overnight, investments made in building women’s digital skills — through education, training and on-the-job learning — will help speed their progress at every career stage.”
Further coverage will appear in the March/April 2016 issue of Connections+.