36% of mid-market senior positions in India are held by women: Grant Thornton research on women in business 2023

Grant Thornton found that in mid-market companies worldwide, 32% of senior management roles are held by women


Delhi: For India Inc., the empowerment of women on International Women’s Day is crucial. Grant Thornton found that in mid-market companies worldwide, 32% of senior management roles are held by women, and in India, that number rises to 36%. Worryingly, in 9 percent of these companies around the world, no women hold positions of executive leadership at all.

Pallavi Bakhru, Partner at Grant Thornton Bharat, commented on the report’s findings as follows: “Progress in the number of women in executive roles is positive as we work towards gender equality in the workplace. Companies can help women advance if they take a mixed or flexible strategy, foster an inclusive and accepting work environment, and invest in their employees’ health and happiness through mentoring and support initiatives. It is not only the morally right thing to do, but also the financially prudent thing to do, to work towards increasing diversity, especially at the top echelons of an organisation. It has been shown to increase efficiency and productivity.”

Regional data analysis provides yet another exciting new perspective. For the first time, the percentage of women in upper-level management positions rose above 30% across all regions (Africa, Asia-Pacific, ASEAN, Latin America, North America, and the European Union). Most dramatically, the ASEAN region went from a 37% increase to a 40% increase, the highest percentage point increase of any region. North America saw the sole decline, from 33% to 31%, while APAC jumped from 30% to 32%. This puts APAC ahead of North America for the first time since 2018. India has a higher proportion of women in top positions (36%) than the world average (28%), the BRIC countries (34%), or the G7 countries (30%).

The sustained dedication of firms to providing flexible working arrangements may be the single most important factor in bringing about gender parity in the workplace. Recent studies have shown that companies that allow employees the option of working from home or in a hybrid setting have a higher representation of women in upper management. Just 36% of small and medium-sized enterprises are now exclusively office-based, while 53% use a blended model. Sixty-two percent of these companies in India are using a hybrid model, while 27 percent are still predominantly office oriented, 5 percent of employees works from home full time, and 5 percent have complete freedom over their schedules and locations.

Nonetheless, this year there has been a significant increase in the number of women serving as CEOs/MDs and CIOs, despite only a modest overall increase in the number of women in senior leadership roles. Only 15% of companies in 2019 have a female CEO or MD. This percentage has increased to 28% worldwide as of right now.

With a mission to expand and diversify, it is essential to find and keep top people. The results of the study show that India’s business elite believe that there are concrete steps that can be taken by companies to ensure a steady supply of talented future executives. We found that the following three indicators were most important:

34.5 percent: Put money into the correct technology to increase participation and diversity.

31.7 percent: Establish effective wellness education and/or assistance programmes

31.3 percent: Use educational initiatives to inspire new ways of thinking and behaving

Unfortunately, in India, only 5% of mid-market companies have any women in executive positions. Accelerating change requires more policy/change-driven programmes, clearer paths to leadership, and an entrenched business culture that welcomes and encourages more representation of underrepresented groups at the highest levels.


Almost 10,000 company leaders in 28 countries are polled every year for the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), making it the largest survey of its kind in the world.

This research is based on the responses of over 5,000 CEOs, MDs, chairs, and other high-ranking executives from mid-sized enterprises in 28 countries who were interviewed and surveyed between October and December 2022. Around 281 middle-market companies were surveyed in India.