Welcome to the latest round of Grant Thornton’s global research tracking the position of women in senior management across the world, and the progress towards gender parity in leadership.

In 2022, we see businesses taking deliberate, necessary action to create more inclusive working practices amid a global talent shortage.

After two years of disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s heartening to see an increase in the proportion of mid-market senior management positions held by women globally, now at 32%.

In South Africa, the number of women in senior management roles has been improving year on year. It has risen to the top of the ranking table in 2022 at 42%, well ahead of global statistics!


The impact of Covid-19 pandemic

Early headlines during the pandemic speculated that women’s career development efforts might be set back by 10 years due to changes in the working environment.

Grant Thornton’s global IBR research established that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) was higher on the agenda for midmarket businesses than ever before, and 69% believed that changes to the working environment would benefit women’s career trajectories long-term (Women in business 2022 |Grant Thornton insights).


A promise fulfilled? A year on, we see that 37% of businesses have seen an immediate benefit for women from new working practices and 35% believe it will have a long-term benefit.

Following the initial ‘window of opportunity’, it appears that companies are solidifying ways of creating a more inclusive environment for female talent.


Mental health

  • Mental health

    ''Recognising that mental well-being is critical to productivity has resulted in leaders introducing initiatives to regularly connect with their teams''.

    Fikile Zwane, Gender Parity Leader

Accessing female talent

New working practices are in part responsible for an increase of women at a senior level, opening up new ways to access female talent. With the onset of COVID 19, the world has seen a significant shift in working practices. There has been a rapid transition from the traditional office-bound way of work, to a more flexible and agile


situation where one can connect remotely and work from anywhere in the world. Companies offering a continued flexible way of work has rapidly become choice employers, especially to female top talent around the globe, it is now possible to work across borders without leaving one’s home.

New working practices

  • New working practices

    ''Many women have opted for the new way of work, which allows them the flexibility they need to achieve a much needed work-life balance''.

    Neridha Moodley, People and Culture leader

Our latest local report explores more actions businesses are taking to boost engagement and inclusion and open the door to diverse talent in this competitive and changeable landscape.

Women in business: Opening the door to diverse talent Global report

Our Grant Thornton network believes that diverse perspectives and inclusive cultures enable businesses to innovate and sustainably grow.

However, with 57% of mid-market businesses concerned about a shortage of skills, leaders will need to work harder to create flexible, inclusive environments where people can find their purpose.

Explore our Global report to view changes in gender parity in senior management around the world and find out how to harness the opportunity to engage with diverse talent and shape the future of work.