In honor of Women's History Month, Deloitte has released their findings from a global gender diversity survey in order to gain insights into the progress being made in improving gender equality in the workplace.

Of the more than 1,700 professionals interviewed, sixty-five percent believe their organization is improving in the representation of senior women within their company, citing both flexible working programs and gender diversity targets as examples. However, while eighty percent of respondents believed ideas were welcomed in their organizations regardless of gender, 40 percent said they sometimes hold back their opinion for fear of being labeled too ‘bossy’ or ‘assertive.’

The survey also revealed that the majority of respondents believe self-confidence (78 percent) is more important than technical ability (22 percent) for professional success.

“In order to attract and retain the best talent, business must provide an environment that is conducive to professional as well as personal growth,” stated Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO-select, during Deloitte Global’s IWD webcast on gender diversity. “Global organizations will only fully thrive once they take action to address the issue of gender diversity. It is not only the right thing to do, but it is the right business thing to do.”

Additionally, the survey found when it comes to sustaining personal and professional excellence, sixty-eight percent of respondents believe it is possible to ‘have it all.’

“It is important that women have the opportunity to balance different priorities at different stages in their career,” stated Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte U.S. CEO, commented during the webcast. A large part of my career achievements are due to having the courage to ask for what I needed whether in a professional or personal context. Mentors and sponsors, particularly in the early stages of my career were invaluable to me because they encouraged me to raise my hand, and take opportunities to build my capabilities.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Gender diversity must be treated as a business issue - Less than half of respondents (48 percent) believe gender diversity is treated as a C-suite priority by their executives.  This indicates progress is being made, but there is still work to be done.
  • Diversity initiatives are proving effective – Sixty-five percent of respondents reported their organization has taken steps to improve the representation of women in senior positions. Flexible working (45 percent); gender diversity and inclusion targets (28 percent); maternity support (26 percent) paternity leave (26 percent) and executive commitment (23 percent) were cited as the most common initiatives put in place.
  • Top initiatives to support gender diversity - Respondents ranked flexible working; executive commitment; targets and an agreed and articulated business case for gender diversity as the top priorities for the advancement of women.

For more information, head to Deloitte's site here.