McKinsey Mexico partner Sergio Waisser on gender equality in the workplace

06 July 2018 2 min. read

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.