Commentary

How Publishers Can Improve Workplace Gender Disparities

News organizations need to be more inclusive of women and minorities to fulfill their key role in informing the public and shaping opinion, consulting firm McKinsey & Co.said in a report.

Its research found that women are better represented at news organizations than in corporate America, though they are more likely to leave their companies than men -- especially at the vice president level. The attrition rate for women vice presidents is 20%, about three times as much as the 7% rate for men.

Compared with other industries, news outlets are more likely to have women as managers. Women in news organizations represent 44% of employees at the manager level, compared with 38% in corporate America overall.

The picture even looks better at more senior levels. Women make up 43% of employees at the senior-manager levels of news organizations, compared with 34% for corporate America.

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However, women of color are under-represented in the news media. Minority women make up 14% of entry-level employees at news organizations, compared with 17% in media and entertainment, and 18% in corporate America.

The disparity gets worse in higher-ranking jobs.

At the vice-president level, women of color represent only 4% of employees at news organizations, compared with 6% at media and entertainment companies and 7% in corporate America.

News organizations are less progressive than corporate America in making the work environment less hostile to women. Only 29% of news companies provided unconscious-bias training, compared with 52% of all industries.

To improve the work environment, McKinsey recommended media companies provide more unconscious-bias training, especially to anyone who evaluates other employees for performance and promotions.

Employees who perceive their evaluations are fair and feel they have an equal opportunity for advancement are more likely to be happier with their careers. They also are more likely to stay at a company longer and recommend it to others, McKinsey said.

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