Why we need the NEW Future Fund

The NEW Future Fund builds on our NEW 2020 research and strategic plan to drive sustainable change in our industry. Despite the business case proving that women’s leadership improves bottom-line performance, there’s been little progress advancing women in the retail and consumer goods industry. Women are the core of the retail business. They make 64 percent of all retail shopping trips1 and make up 55 percent of our industry’s workforce2. But women comprise only 27 percent of senior management in food and beverage — only 22 percent in retail.3

 

It’s time to leverage women’s leadership
to drive innovation and growth

 

We’re in a highly competitive, low-margin industry, and talent is the difference between success and failure. The consumer products and retail industry is no longer a first choice for college graduates — and it’s losing many of the highly trained emerging and mid-level leaders it already has.  It’s time for change. Led by industry executives, driven by NEW members and powered by the NEW Future Fund, our alliance can make retail and consumer goods the No. 1 industry for talent.

1.  Nielsen Consumer, March 11, 2011.

2. “Women CEOs of the S&P 500,” Catalyst 2015.

3. “Women in Business, The Path Forward,” Grant Thornton, 2015

 

Women in retail

64%

of shopping trips

55%

of workforce

22%

of senior leaders

Women in global senior management

41%

education and healthcare

27%

food and beverage

22%

retail

Global senior management roles held by women

Source: Grant Thornton

 

Why women of color are key

A recent report by the American Association of University Women has discouraging news about white women in senior leadership — and even worse news for women of color. Women of color are the fastest-growing share of the female workforce but they lag far behind white women in advancement.

 

We cannot achieve 50/50 gender parity

without advancing women of color

 

White women make up 29.6 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce and 24.3 percent of its senior-level executives. Compare that to Black women: They make up 7.9 percent of the workforce but only 1.5 percent of senior leadership. This disparity holds true for other women of color: Hispanic women, who comprise 6.2 percent of the private sector workforce make up just 1.3 percent of senior-level executives. Asian women comprise 2.8 percent of the workforce but only 1.3 percent of senior leadership. It’s not just about race: While Black men make up a smaller percentage of the total workforce than Black women, they are still better represented than Black women in senior leadership. The drive to 50/50 gender parity must address the specific issues facing women of color. The NEW Future Fund will give our industry the insights, analytics and resources to do it.

 

Gender, race and leadership

Workforce (U.S. private sector)

Senior executives (U.S. private sector)

Sources: AAUW, U.S. EEOC. Private sector employment, 2014. Note: Figures do not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.