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Culture of Equality Boosts Innovation, Creates US$400 bn in KSA’s Economic Growth Potential

A new joint report by Accenture and Alnahda Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the socio-economic empowerment of women, reveals that building a more comprehensive culture of equality in Saudi Arabian organizations can foster innovation and boost economic growth.

Launched during a joint forum between Accenture and the Women 20 (W20), an official G20 policy recommendation engagement group, the ‘Women in the KSA Workforce’ report offers guidelines for companies in Saudi Arabia to build healthy work environments that can help unleash the enormous potential of women in the workplace – a key objective of the Saudi Vision 2030.

More equal cultures are key for women – and the economy

Over the past three years, Accenture has surveyed over 70,000 professionals worldwide in its ‘Getting to Equal’ research series to identify —and quantify the strength of—the factors positively and significantly correlated with women advancing and thriving in the workplace. This report also builds on Alnahda’s ongoing Takafu study, which focuses on equal opportunity in the private sector. Through analysis of data from the General Organization of Social Insurance and surveys of firms and employees across industries and firm sizes, Takafu aims to identify the determinants affecting women’s participation, career progression, and compensation.

In the top 10% of most equal Saudi organizations, where more of these factors are present:

  • Female employees’ sense of ambition and confidence is 23% higher than average. They are 62% more likely to advance in their careers to the managerial level and beyond.
  • The innovation mindset of all employees in these leading ‘equal’ Saudi organizations is 50% higher than among their peers in other organizations;
  • Creative potential is also notably higher, which could add over US$400 billion to the Saudi GDP by 2030.

Speaking on the need to shape more equal workplace environments in Saudi Arabia, Khaled Al-Dhaher, Accenture’s country managing director for Saudi Arabia, added: “In Saudi Arabia, a critical starting point for the career advancement of women is at the top. Our research concludes that a positive tone from the top of the organization goes a long way in setting out both the moral and commercial case for gender equality. Ultimately, a positive workplace culture facilitates a shift in the collective corporate mindset – and in turn, enables a resilient economy that is less dependent on oil and more reliant on a young and emerging generation ready to seize the limitless opportunities of the future.”

For her part, Jawaher Al Sudairy, Director of Alnahda Center for Research, added: “The launch of the Takafu initiative coincided with the announcement of a series of regulatory reforms that simultaneously removed structural biases and instituted safeguards to protect women and promote their advancement, such as enforcement of equal wages and introduction of the anti-harassment law. Hence, the challenge today is less about legal barriers and more about addressing practices and encouraging a work culture underpinned by equal opportunity.”

Building a better culture: helping Saudi women thrive in the workplace

The report recognizes the importance of bringing more women into the country’s workforce and empowering them to make meaningful contributions to improve the resilience of the national economy. It also identifies five cultural actions for Saudi companies to adopt and help close perception gaps, as well as drive progress toward an equal culture:

  1. Elevating female leaders in the corporate world,
  2. Safeguarding against discrimination and harassment,
  3. Offering greater workday flexibility,
  4. Enhancing parental leave,
  5. Investing in targeted training.


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