Only 6% of management positions are held by women in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
women in management positions

In Spain, only 6% of management positions in Spanish companies are held by women. Moreover, female employees feel that they have fewer opportunities for promotion than men. Consequently, Spain ranks sixth in terms of gender equality in the workplace. 

In addition, women in Spain hold 17% of management positions just below the board and 33% of board member positions. Although this seems very little, it is only a few percent off the European average. 

Spain in sixth place gender equality in the workplace 

These figures emerge from the study Women matter España by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company. This puts Spain in sixth place in terms of gender equality in the European Union. On average, women in Spain occupy 8% of management positions and 21% of managers reporting directly to the CEO are women. 31% of board member positions are held by female employees. 

‘Spanish women have fewer promotion opportunities than men’ 

The report shows that women feel that they have fewer opportunities for promotion than men and that this feeling increases throughout their careers. For 92% of Spanish women, a career is important compared to 91% of men. Only 36% of women aspire to a management position compared to 43% of men. 

However, women’s confidence in equal opportunities in the labour market is not high: at the start of their careers, 85% of women still believe that they are treated the same as their male colleagues. After a few years of experience, this percentage decreases to only 59%. 

Cogesa Expats

Female leadership has a positive effect on several fronts 

According to one of the main researchers of this study, promoting female leadership is not only good for gender equality in the workplace. This also has a positive effect on the well-being of employees in companies where many women hold management positions. More emphasis is placed on the professional development of the team, employee well-being and flexible arrangements at work. 

The research was conducted in 45 companies in Spain and Portugal with more than 300,000 employees. 79% of employees in companies where there are many female managers are satisfied with the organisation. This compared to 65% of employees where women hold few management positions. 

Five factors to prepare companies for women in top positions 

The consultancy lists five factors to prepare a company for more women in management positions. The first is flexibility for employees to arrange times and the workplace according to their own needs. Having a role model, so a woman in a top position, also helps to develop a lifestyle in a high position. Having good guidance to help employees make the most of their career opportunities, competitive salaries to attract talent and, last but not least, rewarding employees for good work are of great importance. 

Inclusivity and work-life balance are key factors that lead companies to excel at diversity. The companies that do this have at least 40% female representation in top positions. 

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