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Women strengthen companies says Manpower

ManpowerGroup today advised that closing gender gaps is not about hitting quota numbers rather, it's about making companies stronger. This is critical to ensure the continuing talent sustainability of the world's workforce and to drive competitive advantage for businesses and economies.

Mara Swan, ManpowerGroup executive vice president, global strategy and talent, led a discussion at the launch of the WEF's Global Gender Gap Report 2013 in New York City on how companies and countries can capitalize upon their female talent pool, and how multinational and national companies can collaborate with governments on closing the economic gender gap.

While the eighth annual edition of the Report found that the world's gender gaps narrowed slightly in 2013, in both developed and emerging economies alike, women's presence in leadership positions is limited relative to the numbers of women in tertiary education and the workforce overall. ManpowerGroup's 2013 Talent Shortage Survey showed that more than half of employers globally say talent shortages are impacting their ability to serve clients, but just two percent are actively looking to add women — who make up half of the global talent pool — to their workforces.

"Attracting more high-performing women is imperative to any organization that wants to win, as unleashing the potential of all people is what will make businesses successful in the Human Age," said Swan. "Women leave executive positions at twice the rate of men, and while companies say they're doing what they can to keep them — the reality is that they're throwing another program at the effort and are not really trying to solve the problem. Companies are therefore not just losing critical female talent at a time of growing skills shortages — they are seeing that talent has become their competition."

As the world leader in innovative workforce solutions for 65 years, ManpowerGroup was one of the first employers to bring women into the workforce decades ago and remains a pioneer for women today — providing training, experience and employment opportunities all across the globe. Internally, women account for more than 70 percent of ManpowerGroup's managers worldwide. For the fifth consecutive year, ManpowerGroup was named one of America's Top Corporations by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and was also named a 2020 Women on Boards Winning Company for its commitment to board diversity.

Swan is a passionate advocate for women in business and led a meeting of the Women Leaders Advisory Board at the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January. She has also been named a member of the WEF Global Agenda Council on Leadership and was named HR Executive of the Year for 2012 by Human Resource Executive magazine.

The Global Gender Gap discussion contributes to set the 2014 WEF Annual Meeting agenda on gender parity. Joining Swan for the debate were:

•             Saadia Zahidi, Senior Director, Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital, WEF

•             John Hendra, Deputy Executive Director, Policy and Programme and Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Women

•             Laura Tyson, Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business

•             Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

•             Anne M. Finucane, Global Strategy and Marketing Officer, Bank of America

The full Global Gender Gap Report 2013 can be downloaded from the world Economic Forum website at www.weforum.org/issues/global-gender-gap.

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