It seems obvious. Women make up half the talent pool. The consensus is that there’s a talent shortage out there so, if we don’t recruit the best women into sales and sales management, businesses are missing out on a valuable resource.
The same is true at leadership level – perhaps even more so – yet the relevant figures paint a particularly stark portrait of the gender divide. Sandrine Devillard, director in the Paris office at consultants McKinsey, says their latest research indicates that 90% of Europe’s leading companies have programmes in place to increase the number of women in top jobs; yet, women account for more than a quarter of senior management roles in just 8% of companies.
In the UK, official statistics confirm the sales gender divide, particularly at senior levels.* Although women dominate the retail sector, overall the figures still reveal that 54% are salesmen and 46% are saleswomen. If we look at the statistics for B2B sales, the figures are even more polarised: 70% are male and 32% female. The divide amongst account managers and BDMs is similar: 68% are male and 32% female.
At the top level – sales and marketing directors – the gulf between the sexes widens further: 78% are male and 22% are female. Overall, the figures show that “37% of all male sales staff are in managerial or associate professional roles; however, only 15% of female sales staff falls into these groups”.
Interestingly, the same survey also records the percentage of buyers and procurement officers. Here, there seems to be a role reversal: 40% are male and 60% are female. Perhaps women are finding the best way to fight back against gender inequality in sales after all!
To read the full article subscribe now to SI.