Survey Shows Women are Advancing in the Workplace

January 24, 2019
Press Release
Affirmative Action


Media Contact: Kathryn Klopfer, | 262.696.3426

Survey Shows Women are Advancing in the Workplace

MILWAUKEE, WI (January 24, 2019) – #MeToo heightened the awareness of diversity and inclusion, along with the recognition of anti-harassment policies and equal opportunity for women in the workplace.  To see how companies have responded, MRA conducted research regarding workplace attitudes, representation, practices, and progress for women in the workplace. Just-released findings from MRA’s most recent survey, Advancement of Women in the Workplace, show an overwhelming positive support backing women in the workplace.

Seventy-nine percent of survey participants support women seeking advancement and development, as well as retain women new hires at the same rate as men. Seventy-four percent endorse women in leadership positions, and 57 percent place women in jobs that traditionally have been occupied by men. Nearly half (49 percent) promote gender diversity as a business priority. More results are detailed in the chart below:



Support women seeking advancement & development


Attract women applicants in general



Retain women new hires at the same rate as men


Place women into jobs that have traditionally been occupied by men



Endorse women in leadership positions


Promote gender diversity as a business priority



Attract women applicants with required skills


Seek to connect with women in company messaging such as website



Seek women’s views when making company decisions




When asked about policy and practices, 95 percent responded that they maintain zero-tolerance policies against sexual harassment, and 88 percent hold employees responsible for respectful workplace behaviors. Responses were also strong regarding sponsored professional development opportunities for women at the same rate as men (79 percent), accommodating women’s requests regarding physical work environments (72 percent), and offering flexible work arrangements to address work-life balance needs (69 percent).     

“While we can celebrate advances in attitudes and achievement, gender equality is just one characteristic of an exceptional employer.  Treating all individuals with respect, decisively managing with the Golden Rule at your core – these attributes make up the foundation of a strong company.  It simply should not matter whether an employee is male or female, young or old, black or white – this fast-paced economy and our very future requires the hard work, creativity and inspiration of all,” said Susan Fronk, MRA president and CEO. “At MRA, we will continue working hard to support and provide guidance for organizations to become the very best at what they do.  The most successful workplaces will have the strongest teams.”

MRA recommends:

  • Developing a strategically broad recruitment process
  • Establishing promotion goals and strategies
  • Promoting mentoring and professional development
  • Evaluating wage disparities and retention
  • Conducting engagement surveys
  • Incorporating equality as a value and vision of the company culture


The MRA survey also analyzed the composition of women by various employee groups, including the change in composition over the past two years.  For more information on MRA’s Advancing Women in the Workplace survey, email

About MRA—The Management Association: Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves 4,000 employers, covering more than one million employees worldwide. As one of the largest employer associations in the nation, MRA helps its members thrive by offering comprehensive HR services, talent management, learning and organization development opportunities, and total rewards planning. MRA works to help organizations build a successful workplace and powerful workforce. Headquartered in Waukesha, WI, MRA has regional offices in Palatine, IL, Moline, IL and Plymouth, MN. To learn more about MRA, visit