Health execs say gender parity in leadership would increase profits, reduce turnover.
According to a new Korn Ferry survey of CEOs, CHROs, and other C-suite healthcare executives, women are taking on more leadership roles; but more effort is needed to get women through the glass ceiling. While 80% of healthcare workers are women, they hold only 20% of key leadership positions industrywide; and only 4% of healthcare companies have a female CEO. While nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said that there is more opportunity today than five years ago for women to advance to senior positions, 55% say that women sometimes get passed over for promotions due to their gender.
The survey results demonstrated an appreciation of women’s role in healthcare leadership. Over half (59%) of respondents said that greater gender parity in leadership would lead to greater profits, and 64% say it would result is lower employee turnover. “There is a clear business imperative to creating an environment that is conducive to helping women advance in the healthcare industry,” says Katie Bell of Korn Ferry.
While organizations acknowledge the value of women in leadership, the survey suggested a lack of focus on helping women advance. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents ranked women development programs in their organizations as fair, poor, or nonexistent; and 76% said their organizations do not have sponsorship programs to help women advance. Over half of respondents (54%) put some of the onus on women, saying that they don’t self-promote as strongly as men do to advance their careers. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said that, instead of counting on self-promotion, women get promoted by working hard and being recognized for their efforts.
To move the needle on having more women in healthcare leadership positions, there must be a shared responsibility between professional women and their organization, Bell suggested. “Key to this is engaging organizational leaders to become more agile and adaptive in how they recognize, support, and develop female leaders at all levels of their organizations.”