About 48% of the people who start working at big companies are women, but only 38% of those companies’ lowest-level managers are women.
Elixabete Larrea, a partner at McKinsey & Co., described the problems that women have with getting the lowest-level management jobs as a “broken rung” on the ladder of opportunity.
“There’s a gap here we need to fill,” Larrea said.
One way is to give women more training, and more opportunities to stand out, and another is to bring the women to the attentional of potential internal “sponsors,” Larrea said.
Making that effort is worth it, because increasing the pool of junior managers and ultimately increase the number of woman qualified to move up to the board, and a company with three or more women on the board is 71% more likely than a company with one woman, or no women, on the board to post better-than-expected results, Larrea said.
Larrea is one of the speakers who appeared Friday in New York at the 2020 Women & Diversity Conference.
Three industry groups — the Life Insurance Council of New York, the American Council of Life Insurers and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association — brought hundreds of carrier executives together for the event.
The list of sponsors included MetLife Inc., New York Life Insurance Company, and Reinsurance Group of America.
Michel Khalaf, the chief executive officer of MetLife Inc., cited related McKinsey survey data supporting the idea that gender diversity, ethnic diversity and cultural diversity all tend to make companies more profitable.
“Yes, we’ve made progress,” Khalaf said. “But we’re nowhere near where we’d like to be.”
Khalaf told attendees at the conference that MetLife is acting on its commitment to diversity by becoming the first U.S. insurer to sign the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles.