Despite recent strides by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, women still face numerous hurdles in the workplace. In fact, a new survey calls women the greatest underleveraged source of talent in the world.
To that end, nearly half of working-age women are not active in the global economy.
Not only are women underrepresented in the work force, but they are also underrepresented in the boards of major companies. Just 15.7 percent of board seats in Fortune 500 companies are held by women, the researchers found.
However, there are several factors behind those numbers.
"What companies are offering women is clearly not what women want. There needs to be a shift toward work models that better provide women the flexibility they are looking for so that the percentage of women in the work force does not drop off at every sorting of talent," said Mara Swan, executive vice president of global strategy and talent at ManpowerGroup, which conducted the research. "We also need to focus on strategic ways to reintegrate women who temporarily leave the work force to raise families."
The shortage of women both in the boardroom and in the work force comes at a time when companies are experiencing a problem in finding skilled workers. One-third of employers say they are struggling to find skilled workers for their companies. Researchers say that women can provide a much needed boost in filling the ransk of skilled workers.
"Companies need to value the diversity of thought, perspective and experience in order to unleash the potential of all of their people, regardless of gender or generation, to nurture innovation and productivity," said Jeffrey Joerres, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup.
The research was a part of the ManpowerGroup's 2012 Talent Shortage Survey.