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Even though women comprise half the retail workforce, they are overrepresented in frontline positions and consistently underrepresented in higher-paying management roles. By advancing women into management roles, companies are able to improve retention rates, reduce the cost of turnover, improve customer loyalty, and strengthen retailers’ performance.

Advancing Frontline Women identifies 12 evidence-based practices companies can employ to help break down barriers women face in the workplace, while simultaneously creating a competitive advantage.

Top Takeaways

  1. FSG examined 50 HR practices put in place by over 11,000 retail stores over the last 30+ years, and found 12 evidence-based practices on women’s advancement that fall into three areas: leadership commitment and accountability to foster an inclusive culture that enables all women to advance; company policies and practices that advance gender equity; and career and development opportunities that help develop and promote women.

  2. Companies that are most successful at retaining, engaging, and advancing women employ practices that span all three areas. Companies that have been successful at increasing gender equity also articulate specific metrics around gender equity, regularly track employee data by gender and race, and provide training to employees to raise awareness of and reduce gender and racial bias.
  3. Successful implementation requires engagement from executive, human resource, and store operations teams, and the report surfaces key steps that these teams can take to begin taking action.
With thoughtful implementation, companies can develop comprehensive solutions for supporting and advancing more women from the frontline, tapping into their full talent pool and unlocking significant business value.

The research included in this report was made possible through funding by Walmart.