Progress on the percentage of senior management roles held by women in the mid-market has been too slow. Without determination to change, and quickly, then the progress we have made risks not just plateauing but slipping back.
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Businesses have a clear opportunity to take actionable, tangible steps, and follow our three pathways to accelerate towards parity:

First Pathway

Have a senior leader, of any gender, and a female senior leader taking responsibility for, and leading on, DE&I.

It is incredibly important to have buy-in from the senior team, alongside the lived experience of a female senior leader.

Second Pathway

Set a standalone DE&I strategy and review it to ensure that it contains the right elements to increase the percentage of women in senior management roles. 

There must be clearly defined steps as to how businesses increase this number and success must be measured. It is not enough to measure only elements which are required by law.

Third Pathway

Reconsider any decisions made around requests for their workforce to return to the office. 

Businesses must ensure that they make decisions about this element based on creating a way of working that empowers all employees to be inspired, trusted, and accountable – not just on their business performance metrics.

Looking Forward

Overall, this year demonstrates that the position of women in senior management, in mid-market businesses, is fragile. As the economy continuously adapts to ever-increasing changes, we cannot afford to lose focus. It is all too easy, and convenient, to slow down on DE&I amid instability and various business priorities, however, our research outlines steps that can keep firms on the right path. Protecting the progress made over the past 20 years while redoubling efforts to push for parity remains vital in the case of challenging times that may lie ahead. Grant Thornton remains committed. It will continue to monitor progress, build understanding and share what is learned. We hope that mid-market businesses take on board our recommendations and that we see accelerated progress.