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Women’s Future in BCM Requires Innovation, Collaboration and Adaptability Capabilities, and Professional Respect From Management, 09 November 2017 (G00340557)

by Roberta J. Witty  |  November 14, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Gartner Inc. and the Association of Continuity Professionals (ACP) joined forces to conduct a survey of the ACP membership regarding gender diversity in the business continuity management (BCM) profession.  The results presented in this research are based on a Gartner survey conducted to explore two objectives: the gender makeup of the BCM discipline and its leaders, and the benefits and challenges to women entering the BCM field. Overall, the presence and perspectives of women offer BCM programs a source of talent to address skills shortages. BCM leaders should use our survey findings to grow their recruitment pipelines and build the most effective teams.

Our key findings from the survey include:

  • Female survey respondents’ experience in the BCM profession is marked by complexity, accomplishment and some hardship. They are enthusiastic about their BCM careers — an encouraging signal to executives facing a shortage of skilled professionals.
  • Survey respondents reported few female BCM executives: 89% of executives in IT disaster recovery (DR) and 80% of executives in BCM program-related roles are male. Thirty percent of executives in crisis management are female.
  • Both genders see innovative, collaborative, adaptable, technically adept and business acumen as the top five future competencies for success in BCM. Although business acumen is in the top five competencies for future success across both genders, women ranked it fifth out of 11, whereas men ranked it ninth out of 11.
  • Fifty percent of female respondents agree that women have experienced gender discrimination, whereas only 18% of men agree.

BCM leaders should:

  • Grow the general workforce pipeline for BCM by partnering with primary, secondary and higher education institutions to introduce young women to the BCM profession.
  • Adapt your current BCM hiring practices and internal training programs to emphasize competencies such as innovative, collaborative, adaptable, decisive and business acumen. BCM professional and technical skills can be taught relatively easily, whereas behaviors and soft skills are harder to change and develop.
  • Implement gender-blind recruiting practices and training to mitigate gender discrimination, and use retention practices that promote women to top leadership and executive positions.

The methodology used for the survey follows.

The survey defines BCM to include several disciplines:

  • Crisis management: Establishing “command and control” over the event, ensuring life and/or safety, crisis communications (internal and external).
  • IT DR: Recovering IT services for the organization (internal and external).
  • Business continuity/recovery: Recovering the business processes for the organization, including the workforce, special equipment, nonelectronic vital records and others. This component is typically associated with a specific line of business or department.
  • Supplier contingency:Recovering from a supplier’s own outage.
  • BCM program office:Managing and governing the BCM program and its components across the organization.
  • Emergency management and public safety:Ensuring the life and/or safety of the public by government agencies.

The research was conducted online in the U.S. during December 2016 and January 2017 with 116 respondents of the ACP, with a statistically equal proportion of women and men. Respondents were screened for involvement in BCM programs at their organizations. The survey was developed collaboratively by a team of ACP representatives and Gartner analysts who follow BCM, and was reviewed, tested and administered by Gartner’s Research Data and Analytics team.

Category: advisory  bcm-process  business-continuity  roberta-witty  trends-predictions  trends-and-predictions  

Roberta J. Witty
Research VP
11 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Roberta Witty is a research VP in Gartner Research, where she is part of the Compliance, Risk and Leadership group. Her primary area of focus is business continuity management and disaster recovery. Ms. Witty is the role specialty lead for… Read Full Bio




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