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Report: Women exec turnover high in retail, CPG

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The retailing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry sectors aren’t immune to gender inequality in the workplace.

A report released this week by the Network of Executive Women (NEW) found that turnover rate among women — especially women executives — is much higher than that for men in the retail and CPG industries.

Sarah Alter_Network of Executive Women

Sarah Alter, Network of Executive Women

Titled “The Female Leadership Crisis,” and published in tandem with Mercer and Accenture, the NEW report pegged turnover for women at 31%, compared with 24% for men.

What’s more, the rate of turnover for women rises at higher-level positions. NEW said that Women first- and mid-level managers leave at almost twice the rate of their male peers (24% versus 13%), and turnover for senior executive and C-suite women is nearly four times that of men (27% versus 7%).

The “Female Leadership Crisis” findings are based on a poll of more than 3,600 NEW members and U.S. retail and CPG industry employees, as well as on hiring, promotion and turnover data from eight leading companies representing more than 400,000 employees, according to NEW.

“While the industry has made progress in closing the gender gap in hiring and promotions, the astounding rate of turnover of women in leadership roles guarantees we will never reach gender parity,” NEW president and CEO Sarah Alter stated.

“To turn the tide on female leadership,” Alter added, “organizations must boldly commit to gender equality, transform their corporate cultures and institute effective new programs and policies.”

Over the next decade, the report projected the percentage of women executives (based on the survey sample) to shrink from 35% currently to 15% in 2027, noted NEW board member Beth Marrion, managing director of retail at Accenture.

“Unless companies act now to tear down barriers to gender diversity and inclusion, the percentage of women executives at the participating companies is projected to drop precipitously,” Marrion commented.


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