McKinsey Mexico partner Sergio Waisser on gender equality in the workplace

06 July 2018 Consultancy.lat

In a recent interview with Méxican online news outlet MILENIO, Sergio Waisser, Managing Partner of McKinsey Mexico, discussed the importance of striving for equality in the workplace. McKinsey & Company have been at the forefront of the global shift to increase gender diversity in the workplace. In a study released last year, the consulting firm contends that despite earning more university degrees than men for the past 30 years, women are still grossly underrepresented in the workplace in terms of pay and leadership positions.

“One of the most powerful reasons for the lack of progress is a simple one: we have blind spots when it comes to diversity, and we can’t solve problems that we don’t see or understand clearly,” states the report, titled “Women in the Workplace 2017”. The report outlines the challenges that women face in entering the workforce around the globe and the significant barriers that they face when climbing the ladder.  

In the interview (in Spanish with English subtitles) Sergio Waisser – a long time advocate for gender equality in the workplace – defines the situation in Mexico as being unique from other countries due to the cultural and social hurdles. He identifies that Mexico is well under the Latin American average in terms of the gender parity index, yet for Méxican executives the issue is elevated in comparison to their Latin peers. 

Focusing on the Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole, a 2018 report conducted by the firm – which analysed 345 Latin companies – found that those with a higher representation of women had a 44% higher return on capital and a 47% higher profit margin. McKinsey has been making a business case for higher women in the workplace since 2007 and says that whilst companies alone cannot shift cultural norms, they can make a difference.  

The consulting firm’s call to action was a simple one: make gender diversity a strategic priority. “Given the number of cultural and organizational barriers and the difficulty of overcoming them, gender diversity is unlikely to improve unless the issue is high on the corporate agenda. Yet in Latin America, 63 percent of those [executives] surveyed said gender diversity was not among their companies’ strategic priorities. This positions Latin America between Asia and Europe.”

Related: A.T. Kearney identifes the economic benefits of gender equality in Mexican economy.

The consulting industry show of force for Mexican workplace diversity

20 November 2018 Consultancy.lat

Some of the world’s largest consulting firm’s have joined the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s five year in-the-making Workplace Equality Program, demonstrating the industry’s determination to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Diverse and inclusive workplaces benefit both companies and economies as a whole. They promote engagement, attract a greater talent pool and improve decision making as there is a broader range of knowledge across sectors. Whilst the uptake in equality policies – especially for LGBTI+ people – has been slow in comparison to Europe and North America, Latin American businesses are beginning to capitalize on the many benefits that accompany equality.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released the results of Equidad MX Best Places to Work LGBT 2018 – with the help of local diversity consulting outfit FVConsulting – outlining a number of companies that represent the top standards of equality. HRC Equidad MX promotes three strategic pillars to improve equality across workplaces. They include; the adoption of nondiscrimination policies, the creation of employee resource groups or diversity and inclusion council, and engagement in public activities to support LGBT inclusion.

“Corporate leaders in Mexico increasingly recognize that when they stand up for LGBT people, including their own employees, customers, and consumers, they promote justice while also serving their bottom line,” said Francisco Robledo and Fernando Velázquez of HRC Equidad MX Implementing Partners.

The consulting industry show of force for Mexican workplace diversity

The consulting industry overall exemplified best practice and joined industry heavyweights such as AT&T, Google and Walmart. At the top of the list, scoring 100% on their assessment is Accenture, EYIBM and The Boston Consulting Group who join 28 other businesses. Together, the group accounts for over half a million workers throughout the country. They were also joined by out-performers McKinsey & Company and Oliver Wyman who were also celebrated for their achievements.

“We are proud to witness the growth of LGBT-inclusive businesses throughout Mexico. This year’s honorees keenly understand that the economy of the future is built with the diverse talent of today, and that LGBT inclusion is key to attracting and retaining the best workforce,” said Deena Fidas, HRC Director of HRC Equidad MX and HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program.

“Mexican multinational companies have enormous economies and employ thousands of people. This gives them the ability to influence change on this issue in a unique way, and we are delighted to recognize them for this commitment.”

Inclusion and diversity

The report states that the reasons for driving change and move into line with the global standards of inclusion and diversity can aid international growth. Anti-discrimination policies can allow businesses to align with key investors and supplier standards, eliminating barriers to trade and mobility of talent.

For example, as over 80% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a lack of policy itself may be a barrier to trade in general. For Mexico in particular, the country itself has been plagued by a high level of gender inequality driven by machismo.

Described in an A.T. Kearney report last year as one of the main factors in a lack of workplace diversity in Mexico. Machismo is a large barrier to the economic benefits which diversity will bring to the Mexican economy. The report identified that the prevalence of a ‘macho' culture itself is hindering Mexican workplace growth and productivity.

That being said, the growth in partners and participants for Equidad MX shows that times are changing. “HRC Equidad MX 2019 is an unprecedented moment for LGBT inclusion in Mexico and the Latin American region,” Robledo and Velázquez concluded.