Cracking the Code - a gender intelligent approach to developing corporate leaders

A gender intelligent approach to developing leaders

The new report from KPMG, global business psychologist firm YSC and the 30% Club, dispels common gender diversity myths in the workplace.



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Cracking the Code

Cracking the Code is a new report from KPMG, global business psychologist firm YSC and the 30% Club on gender intelligent approaches to developing corporate leaders. The findings dispel some of the common gender diversity myths in the workplace. Our report highlights three key things that organisations could focus on to adopt a more gender intelligent approach to improving their talent pipeline health.

The report focuses on 10 myths including:

  • How child-rearing prevents women from getting to the top
  • How women lack the leadership qualities to get to the top
  • How the business case for diversity is working

‘Cracking the code’ is the 30% Club’s strapline for really understanding what works for women in business and whether this differs from what works for men. The research aims to avoid ‘fixing women’ to adapt to male-dominated structures and ‘beating men up’. Instead, the report aims to provide practical ideas for organisations around utilising data, leadership and accountability to finally ‘crack the code’ on gender diversity.

Research methodology

Over the course of this research, we collected data from several FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 organisations. Doing this helped us learn more about male and female representation below board level, their working patterns and their progression. Our research covers several organisations which combined employ just over 680,000 people in total, across retail, energy and utilities, financial services and other large businesses.

Organisations were asked to provide their UK data on:

  • Number of women and men at each level of the organisation
  • Executive Committee job roles
  • Number of female/male appointments and exits from senior executive roles
  • Participation in high potential programmes and the criteria selection for such programmes
  • Participation in flexible working practices
  • Organisational reporting policies

The survey responses were brought into a secure single repository for analysis. The results were then categorised and the key ratios and averages were calculated. To avoid skewing of the data, the ratios were calculated at a respondee level and then aggregated, to create overall population averages.

Further information on the research conducted by YSC can be found here

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more detail about the structure of the KPMG global organisation please visit

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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