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Digital skills help narrow the workplace gender gap, Accenture research finds

DIGITALLY savvy women are helping to close the gender gap in the workplace, a study by Accenture Inc. revealed.

“Digital fluency, the extent to which people embrace and use digital technologies to become more knowledgeable, connected and effective, plays a key role in helping women achieve gender equality and level the playing field,” the multinational business-process outsourcing firm said in a statement.   Titled “Getting to Equal: How Digital is Helping Close the Gender Gap at Work,” the study “provides empirical proof that women are using digital skills to gain an edge in preparing for work, finding work and advancing at work,” Accenture said. The research found that in the Philippines 87 percent of millennial and Generation X women surveyed aspire to be in leadership positions—the highest in the report.

In the Philippines only slightly more women report using digital to prepare for and find work than men (96 percent and 94 percent, respectively). Yet, the research found that overall, when women and men have the same level of digital proficiency, women are better at leveraging it to find work. Seventy-five percent of all survey respondents—men and women combined—agreed that digital enables them to work from home, and 63 percent said it provides a better balance between personal and professional lives. The same percentage (63 percent) report digital has increased access to job opportunities.

The Philippines’s total score tied that with Mexico on digital fluency, education, employment and advancement. The report didn’t provide specific figures, however.

Nonetheless, the Philippines led in these categories above Indonesia and India. “There are many ways to narrow the gender gap in the workplace, but digital is a particularly powerful avenue,” Accenture Country Managing Director Lito Tayag was quoted in a statement as saying. “Although gender equality will not happen overnight, investments made in building women’s digital skills—through education, training and on-the-job learning—will help speed their progress at every career stage. When our women employees know and feel that we support and empower them, they will be able to create a greater impact through their work and in their company and community.” The Accenture report assessed results from an online survey conducted in December 2015 and January 2016 of more than 4,900 working women and men in 31 countries. If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, gender equality could be achieved in 25 years in developed nations, versus 50 years at the current pace, Accenture’s report concluded. Gender equality in the workplace could be achieved in 45 years in developing nations, versus 85 years at the current pace.

 

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