When we think healthcare, we think women. And that's for a good reason. Women make up over 70% of the healthcare workforce, and even more generally, they make up to 80% of all medical buying and usage decisions. But despite women's involvement in the healthcare industry, they are sorely represented in senior leadership.
According to a new report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, only 30% of C-suite members and 13% of CEOs in the healthcare field are women.
And on average, it takes women three to five years longer to reach that top title.
Of course, this lack of diversity in senior leadership means a lack of individuals with a deep understanding of the market and its pain points. That's not good for business. But if it's not economics that's holding women back, what is?
Oliver Wyman studied the careers over 112 healthcare industry CEOs (men and women), and found several patterns that help to explain the leadership gap.
According to a Fast Company recap of their report:
- It’s harder for women to achieve the same level of implicit trust in male-dominated workplaces.
- Women are less likely to self-promote.
- Women lack female mentors and sizable professional network.
- Long-held biases as to what constitutes “leadership” hold women back.
There is a wealth of research that suggests organizations help the bottom line by breaking these barriers.
A recent study suggests that companies with more female representation are more profitable. Meanwhile, it's easy to understand how weak retention, missing out on market insights and a poor public image is a money sink to any company. With the United States alone spending trillions of dollars on healthcare, that's a large sum of money for anyone to be missing out on.