Ahead of International Women’s Day, Ikea retailer the Ingka Group says it has now reached gender balance across its top leadership roles in more than 30 countries around the world.
Ingka Group, which is the largest of a number of Ikea retail companies, says that 45% of Ingka Group country chief executives are now women, as are about half of the leaders in top management in the 31 countries where it operates.
“At Ingka Group, we believe that gender equality at home and at work live at the core of gender equality in society,” says Ulrika Biesèrt, global people and culture manager at Ingka Group. “As we head into International Women’s Day, around the world, fair and equitable opportunities for women are, at best, stalling. We all must do more to achieve gender parity.”
Biesèrt attributes Ingka Group’s strong results to the company’s long-term approach to gender equality, which has been part of Ingka Group’s country business plans for over a decade. This means across Ingka Group there is a shared goal to achieve gender balance across all leadership positions, which is followed up annually.
Additionally, there is a clear strategic approach around inclusive succession goals.
Biesèrt says: “It’s important that we reflect the communities we serve at every leadership level. Not only is it the right thing to do, but the best thing for our co-workers, current and future customers, our business, and society.”
While Biesèrt is proud of the results, she says the company’s journey continues. “One key focus area where we now need to improve upon is removing the barriers for women from underrepresented groups to move into leadership positions,” she says.
Ingka Group says it has several new initiatives to reach that goal, including a new programme to accelerate how Ingka Group reflects society in its leadership teams, with a focus on representation of people from underrepresented ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This is being piloted in Portugal, before rolling out to the rest of Ingka markets.
Ikea is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research.