Embracing change, yet being realistic about the new reality

Embracing change

The 2020 GFLO study was a great success. Read details here about what female executives think about economic growth and necessary investments in digitalization.

The Global Female Leaders Outlook

The Global Female Leaders Outlook 2020 provides insight into the minds of female leaders as the pandemic continues to upend societies, communities and economies. Nearly 700 female leaders across 52 countries were surveyed between September and October 2020 to understand the impact on their professional and personal priorities throughout the pandemic. 44 percent of the respondents are with companies that have more than US $500M in annual revenue.

The questions are based on economic and business expectations, risks and opportunities, as well as on career and gender diversity factors. This framework enables to draw comparisons between the pre-COVID world and the new reality.


When considering growth over the next three years, Global Female Leaders appear to be optimistic. In fact, more than half (58 percent) of respondents remain confident or very confident about their company’s growth prospects.

Respondents were less bullish about the global economy, however, with 46 percent expecting negative growth rates and just 29 percent saying they are confident or very confident about growth.

When asked about revenues, almost half (47 percent) of the Global Female Leaders said their company has the potential to exceed 2.5 percent in revenue growth, while 19 percent expect their organization’s earnings to increase anywhere between 0,01 and 2.5 percent. Conversely, 25 percent said they expect negative growth rates, up from the just five percent who gave this respond in 2019.


Regarding growth in headcount, the study has a more fragmented picture. While 24 percent of Global Female Leaders say headcount will stay the same, 36 percent expect growth and 41 percent expect shrinkage. Last year, only 27 percent of participants expected fewer employees in a 3-year forecast.

In a post-COVID world, business leaders will also be expected to give a greater importance to the voice of their customers. The growing e-commerce sector and the diffusion of digital communication tools and social media has led to customers using their voice more than ever before, influencing brand developments or even entire business strategies.

84 percent of the respondents believe that protecting customer data is one of the most important responsibilities that organizations need to assume in order to further grow their customer base.

Digital economy

A significant majority (80 percent) of Global Female Leaders state that their company’s digital transformation projects have been accelerated in response to the crisis. In addition, many respondents confirmed that their organization’s business model enabled them to better adapt.

The latter consideration is of importance, as cost reduction is often seen as one of the most effective means for companies to manage the immediate impact of the crisis. However, reducing investments inessential projects, such as digitalization and innovation, could be a very short-term strategy, especially as 87 percent of Global Female leaders agree that companies operating and thriving in the digital economy will be the true winners against the backdrop of the crisis.

For the charts and more details on the GFLO Study 2020, read the full report.


Reach out for insight on how female leaders view corporate leadership, where they focus their attention and what they are willing to change.

GFLO 2020

Review 2019: Collaborating to Build a Better World

Once again, remarkable women and influential leaders from all over the world convened under one roof to share their expertise, perspective and acumen on how the world we live in is developing and what everyone can contribute to make a positive impact. Learn more and download the offical review 2019!