KPMG's first Global Female Leaders (GFLs) study shows female business leaders, including those in Ireland, are well-prepared for the challenges of the digital age, with almost half of Irish female business leaders (47 percent) believing their company to be the disruptor of their sector, rather than being disrupted by competitors.
In our digital and tech driven world, new capabilities are required in order to survive. Finding the right digital know-how and qualified employees for the inevitable transformation is a challenge.
Optimism versus caution
88% percent of female business leaders in Ireland expect revenue growth over the next three years with 45 percent seeing organic growth as the most important. These results are aligned with expectations for headcount growth - a majority of female business leaders in Ireland (59 percent) expect employment to grow in the next three years – marginally below the level expected by their global peers (62 percent). However, Irish respondents are cautious when it comes to the impact of artificial intelligence on headcount - with only 50 percent saying that it will create more jobs than it will eliminate – this caution is reflected in the global findings (47 percent).
Comfortable versus concerned
Almost four in five (79 percent) of Irish respondents see the need to improve innovation processes and execution over the next 3 years in comparison with their global peers (93 percent). While almost nine in ten (88 percent) will increase usage of predictive data models/analytics compared with 77 percent worldwide.Only 18 percent of Irish female business leaders think that their board of directors has an unreasonable expectation regarding return on investment related to digital transformation projects but less than two thirds (59 percent) are confident that the existing leadership team is fully equipped to oversee the radical transformation that they believe their business needs to undergo.
According to Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland, digital transformation offers significant opportunities but is challenging business leaders to ensure they have the right people and resources in place. “For example, the speed at which decisions have to be made in response to customer expectations is accelerating. Leaders need to possess the skills and the conviction to lead their companies through these disruptive times."
Commenting on initiatives to ensure gender equality at a senior level, Murphy says; “Our survey respondents are highly successful business leaders; however, they still see the need for accelerators to support gender equality.” There was unanimity (vs 83 percent worldwide) in seeing enablement programmes for women as a means of growing the pool of talented senior females in business.”