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Global Female Leaders

Global Female Leaders

Global Female Leaders trust data and are realistic about future growth, according to KPMG’s survey


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KPMG’s first Global Female Leaders (GFLs) survey, KPMG 2018 Inaugural Global Female Leaders Outlook, shows female business executives are well-prepared for the challenges of the digital age, with more than three-quarters (77%) seeing technological disruption as more of an opportunity than a threat.

The survey covered 699 Global Female Leaders from 42 countries and from 14 industry sectors. Half of the
interviewees (51%) believe their company to be the disruptor of their sector, rather than being disrupted by competitors. This finding, among others, presents a striking contrast to the recently launched KPMG 2018 Global CEO Outlook, where only 15% of the respondents were female (reflecting the current under-representation of women in CEO roles). But there are also differences with 77% of GFLs who are confident about growth potential for their company, down from 90% of their largely male counterparts.

“Digital transformation begins with a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ current and future needs,” said Ms. Susan Ferrier, Global Head of People, KPMG International. “The Global Female Leaders interviewed appear strongly positioned to drive growth and profitability for their companies.”

“Digital transformation offers unlimited opportunities for businesses,” explains Ms. Angelika Huber-Straßer, Head of Corporates at KPMG in Germany. “However, the speed in which decisions have to be made, for example, in response to customer expectations, is constantly increasing.”


Comfortable with digitalisation, technology and data

-  93% see the need to improve innovation processes and execution over the next 3 years

-  77% state that will increase usage of predictive data models/analytics

-  58% have made strategic decisions based on data-driven insights

-  48% feel comfortable with new technologies like AI, blockchain, mixed realityand 3-D printing

-  21% think that their board of directors has an unreasonable expectation regarding return on investment related to digital transformation projects.


Largely optimistic about growth and headcount

-  73% expect top-line revenue growth over 2%; compared to the 55% of their largely male counterparts who do not expect more than 2% top-line growth

-  As for growth strategies, GFLs have their sights set on organic growth, with 45% seeing it as the best growth strategy. In comparison, the CEO Outlook finding is 28% for organic growth, second to strategic alliances at 33%

-  These results are aligned with expectations for headcount growth, with 33% of GFLs indicating an increase by 6% or more

-  GFLs are more cautious when it comes to the impact of AI on headcount with 47% saying that it will create more jobs than it will eliminate. In comparison, 62% of CEOs said the same.


Confident about success factors, quotas and expectations

GFLs are agile and know their strengths; however, they still see the need for cultural changes in order to support gender equality.

-   Only 28% see their next career step within their existing company

-   83% see enablement programs for women as a good means of bringing more females
into leadership positions.

-  Strong personal networks and good communication skills are the top two most important factors cited for personal success.


“Female leaders possess the skills and the strength to lead their companies through these disruptive and exciting times”, Ms. Maria Karantoni, Board Member, Assistant Head of Human Resources at KPMG in Cyprus, added. “Women’s voices are essential in bringing a more diverse and inclusive perspective. Leadership in the digital age must embrace diverse workforces to achieve enhanced business performance.”


© 2020 KPMG Limited, a Cyprus limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity.  Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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