BCG Study Shows Gender Gap Still Persists When It Comes to Global Talent Mobility
BOSTON—In many organizations, international experience is an increasingly important requirement for both men and women who want to move into leadership positions. Yet according to a report released today by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), companies may be overlooking women for international assignments. However, the research also shows that CEOs can close this gap.
The findings of the report, called Women on the Move: Shaping Leaders Through Overseas Postings, reveal that 55% of women surveyed said that they would be willing to move abroad for a job assignment. What’s more, children did not seem to be a deterrence to these assignments: 44% of women with children were willing to move abroad. Yet despite this, less than 30% of women who were willing to move had actually done so, compared with 40% of men in similar situations. Moreover, when a gap in desire to relocate exists, research shows that it can be narrowed; willingness to move is not a fixed attribute.
These findings are an opportunity for organizations to enable their female talent to gain critical experience on their path to leadership roles. “International assignments can provide countless opportunities for employees to grow both personally and professionally,” said Claire Tracey, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. “From a personal perspective, they allow employees to travel and to learn a new language and culture. They also give them a holistic picture of an organization’s total operations, making them great candidates for future leadership roles.”
Closing the Mobility Gap
BCG recommends four steps that companies can take to ensure that they have a strong leadership pipeline and that both men and women have opportunities to take on international assignments:
“An employees’ willingness to travel fluctuates based on both personal and professional factors. But a person’s family status should not be assumed to be a barrier to international opportunities within an organization,” said Matt Krentz, a BCG senior partner and a coauthor of the report. “When companies overlook women for these assignments, it not only puts them at a disadvantage, it hurts the organization by weakening their leadership pipeline.”
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
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