KPMG's Global Female Leaders study press release | KPMG | IE
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Irish female business leaders embrace disruption

Irish female business leaders embrace disruption

KPMG launches first Global Female Leaders study.


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Managing Partner

KPMG in Ireland


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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.

Optimistic about revenue growth and headcount growth

Cautious on jobs impact of artificial intelligence

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 with digitalisation and technology but concerned about team capabilities

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.

Communications skills more important than network for Irish female leaders

Irish female business leaders cited strong communication skills (37 percent) as the most important component of future personal success in contrast with under a quarter (24 percent) of their peers worldwide who rank an active personal network (26 percent) as the most important factor.

About KPMG's 2018 Inaugural Global Female Leaders Outlook

The survey covers 699 Global Female Leaders from 42 countries including Ireland and from 14 industry sectors. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents come from companies that have more than US$500M in annual revenue, the others (62 percent) come from companies with under US$500M. The online survey was conducted in April 2018. NOTE: Some figures may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

About KPMG Ireland

KPMG in Ireland is a provider of professional services, offering a range of audit, tax and advisory services to a broad range of domestic and international clients across all sectors of business and the economy. We operate on an All-Ireland basis and have 91 partners and over 2,800 people in offices in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway.

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