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Recruitment firm ManpowerGroup, a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF), has advised that closing gender gaps is not about hitting quota numbers; but more about making companies stronger. This is critical to ensure the continuing talent sustainability of the world's workforce and to drive competitive advantage for businesses and economies.
Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Talent, led a discussion at the launch of the WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2013 in New York City on how companies and countries can capitalise upon their female talent pool, and how companies can collaborate with governments on closing the economic gender gap.
While the eighth annual edition of the Report found that the world's gender gaps narrowed slightly in 2013, in both developed and emerging economies alike, women's presence in leadership positions is limited relative to the numbers of women in tertiary education and the workforce overall.
ManpowerGroup's 2013 Talent Shortage Survey showed that more than half of employers globally say talent shortages are impacting their ability to serve clients, but just 2% are actively looking to add women, who make up half of the global talent pool, to their workforces.
Ms Swan commented: "Attracting more high-performing women is imperative to any organisation that wants to win, as unleashing the potential of all people is what will make businesses successful in the Human Age. Women leave executive positions at twice the rate of men, and while companies say they're doing what they can to keep them the reality is that they're throwing another program at the effort and are not really trying to solve the problem. Companies are therefore not just losing critical female talent at a time of growing skills shortages; they are seeing that talent has become their competition."