Only 24% Of Leaders In Ireland Are Women According To A New Report

Posted in : ROI on 27 July 2022
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Unconscious Bias, Diversity & Inclusion, Discrimination and Equality

Only 24% Of Leaders In Ireland Are Women According To A New Report 

New global data released by LinkedIn included in the 2022 Global Gender Gap Report reveals that women hold less than one-third of leadership positions globally. In Ireland, LinkedIn’s data reveals that women are very underrepresented at managerial and senior levels. Some of the key statistics show that:

  • 46% of roles in Ireland are held by women
  • 42% of Irish women hold manager roles
  • 24% of C-suite roles in Ireland are held by women

Ireland is backing an EU move to make listed company boards at least 33pc female by 2027.  Under the rules, listed companies whose boards have less than 33% female representation - or 40% for non-executive directors - would have to give priority to women when choosing between equally qualified candidates for future posts.   

Bias in Recruitment

Removing bias in recruitment is an important step in helping to increase the number of women getting access to employment and promotional opportunities. A recent claim to the WRC in Ireland by a Complainant who alleged that she had been discriminated against on race and religious grounds in relation to access to employment when she was not selected for employment because she wore a headscarf was successful. The Complainant argued during the interview process that a question about her nationality was prompted by the fact that she wore a headscarf and that this question had not been put to other candidates of different nationalities. 

In addition in GB, a designer for a global brand, Superdry was awarded £96,000 for age discrimination when the Company failed to promote her because of a perception that she was less likely to leave the organisation at her age (56) than younger employees who were promoted above her. 

These cases help to demonstrate that bias can and does exist in recruitment/promotion exercises and it is essential therefore that those involved in conducting interviews should receive adequate training in equality matters including unconscious bias to prevent such occurrences.

What Action Needs To Be Taken?

The new data from LinkedIn as part of the 2022 WEF Gender Gap Report indicates there remains a gender leadership gap, and that action is required from government and businesses across Ireland to make workplaces and societies more equal.

The data emphasises the requirement to focus on inclusive and fair hiring practices, as well as internal mobility programmes, and flexible working in order to make progress.

Practical steps employers in Ireland can take include removing bias from job descriptions and including women on interview panels. This also includes creating targeted mentoring and training programmes for women working at the pre-manager level, as well as increased awareness and training about unconscious bias for hiring managers and interviewers at this level.

Flexible working also needs to be normalised by employers to attract a diverse talent pool, and offered to all workers, not just women, so that we can have a future that is more equitable.

Training Resources for All Staff/Hiring Managers/Interviewers Within Your Organisation

With the value of diversity and inclusion as important as ever, it is vital that employees have an understanding of how unconscious bias can impact their workplace and the organisation. We all have biases, many of them unconscious. Dealing with these biases starts with making the unconscious conscious.

Unconscious bias at work can influence decisions in recruitment, promotion, staff development and recognition and can lead to a less diverse workforce. If the workforce doesn’t reflect your customer base or society’s makeup, your organisation will be viewed as backward and biased – it will cost your business. Cases of unconscious bias happen every single day in Irish workplaces. Where unconscious bias is against a protected social characteristic, it can be discriminatory in law.

The standard misconception is that unconscious bias awareness training is only required for those working in recruitment and selection. This is not the case, the benefit of making all staff aware of what biases they might have can be a great tool to use to prevent a claim of discrimination or harassment in an organisation.

Legal Island’s Unconscious Bias in the Workplace eLearning course provides comprehensive training for all Irish-based employees, ensuring awareness of good practices in reducing unconscious bias in the workplace.

To find out more about this course or to view a FREE demo of this course on behalf of your organisation, click here.


This article is correct at 27/07/2022

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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