Culture of Equality Boosts Innovation, Creates US$400 Billion in KSA’s Economic Growth Potential, Accenture and Alnahda report finds


Findings revealed during a joint W20-Accenture forum

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: ‒ A new joint report by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) 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.

Over the past decade, following the government’s introduction of a range of women-friendly policies, Saudi women’s participation in the country’s workforce has grown. However, there is still much to be achieved to bring them on par with their counterparts worldwide.

About Accenture:

Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries, we offer Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services—all powered by the world’s largest network of Advanced Technology and Intelligent Operations centers. Our 506,000 people deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day, serving clients in more than 120 countries. We embrace the power of change to create value and shared success for our clients, people, shareholders, partners and communities.

About Accenture Research:

Accenture Research shapes trends and creates data-driven insights about the most pressing issues global organizations face. Combining the power of innovative research techniques with an understanding of our clients’ industries, our team of around 300 researchers and analysts spans 20 countries and publishes hundreds of reports, articles and points of view every year. Our thought-provoking research—supported by proprietary data and partnerships with leading organizations, such as MIT and Harvard—guides our innovations and allows us to transform theories and fresh ideas into real-world solutions for our clients.

About Alnahda:

Alnahda Society is a non-profit organization committed to the socio-economic empowerment of women and the activation of their role in national development. Over the years, it has remained nimble, shifting its activities to address the issues that are most pressing for women to effectively interact with the rapidly changing surrounding context. Alnahda, aims to offer a model for civil leadership in economic development, research, and advocacy both locally and internationally. Hence, beyond its domestic efforts, Alnahda aspires to contribute towards women’s inclusion globally. Most recently, it was granted consultative status by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Additionally, and alongside Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of the G20, Alnahda is the official host of the Women’s 20 (W20) in 2020.

About Alnahda Center for Research:

Alnahda Center for Research aims to support Alnahda’s vision and its ongoing programs related to economic development and advocacy through scientific evidence. By carrying out impact assessment studies of programs delivered by Alnahda, such as capacity building, social and economic support, the Research Center is set to measure their efficacy, both to inform their design as well as to scale their implementation beyond Alnahda. Additionally, the Research Center pursues studies and research collaborations on issues that can inform policy and enhance women’s socio-economic advancement.