There are a few things that strike me as I look at this chart.
First, I started my career in one of the industries at the bottom of the chart. I was part of the 26% in energy and mining. I chose a career in utilities, and enjoyed it hugely until I reached a ceiling at the ripe old age of 26. The Operations Director I worked for gave me some brilliant advice. He said my next job should be his, but as this opportunity wasn’t likely to happen any time soon, I should branch out into consulting and gain international experience.
Along the way, I met many talented, ambitious women who didn't get promoted into leadership positions. We need to challenge why that is happening, and why it is getting worse.
Second, as I think about the future that's coming, the low number of women in software and IT services and in finance does not bode well. We are on the cusp of the Transformative Age, which will fundamentally change how we live and work. Technology – and the financing for innovative ventures – will play key roles in how that future is shaped.
In an age crying out for powerful and innovative solutions – which evidence shows are best generated by diverse teams – we need to take bigger strides forward on gender parity and diversity in all its forms.
Unconscious bias – could AI hardwire it into our future?
Unconscious bias has proven to be a big barrier to diversity in the workplace, particularly for women trying to break through the glass ceiling into leadership positions. For real change to take hold, it has to come from the top.
There are many enlightened CEOs who are actively tackling unconscious bias and pursuing diversity, but more needs to be done. I've written before about minimizing unconscious bias with blind hiring, something EY has done with great success. These practices need to become more widespread before it's too late.