Company culture played the biggest role in helping women remain resilient

June 23, 2021 – A majority of executive women reported that the scope of their management responsibilities unexpectedly changed or expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic while they took on more responsibilities at home, according to a new study released today by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm.

Advancing the Future of Women in Business: A KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Report” surveyed 900 high-performing executive women who are 1-2 career steps away from the C-suite and have participated in the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit. The report offers key insights into how female executives lead their companies through periods of uncertainty and disruption, while managing change in their own careers and personal lives and solutions for how companies can better support women in the workplace. 

“At KPMG, we remain committed to the important work of helping more women advance to the C-suite,” said KPMG U.S. Chair and CEO Paul Knopp. “During these challenging times, it’s more critical than ever for companies to find innovative ways to support women in the workplace and their families and foster cultures that support new ways of working, prioritizing mental health and wellness so they can thrive at both work and home.”

Key findings of the study include:

  • Almost two-thirds of executive women surveyed said the scope of their management responsibilities unexpectedly changed or expanded due to the events of the past 16 months while they also cared for children, aging parents, and maintained community responsibilities.
  • 53 percent believe their company’s culture changed during the pandemic by placing a renewed focus on flexibility, individual wellness, and team inclusivity.
  • 76 percent adopted new activities and routines to foster wellness as a result of the pandemic.
  • 84 percent said that mentors played a vital role in developing their resilience and 64 percent reported their professional support networks were critical to their wellness and growth during the last year, so they actively engaged with them whenever time allowed.

“Our latest study features remarkable stories of resilience and demonstrates the strength and fortitude of working women as they dealt with immense challenges over the past year and a half,” said Laura Newinski, KPMG U.S. Deputy Chair and COO. “Organizations that cultivate inclusive environments and offer strong support networks that include mentors and sponsors can help women navigate the challenges of today and tomorrow and help them advance and grow in their careers.”

Strong networks, leadership and resilience

  • 60 percent said they can effectively network and develop new relationships in a virtual environment.
  • Nearly all the survey respondents (96%) said they had to adjust the way they lead or motivate their teams in response to the myriad of issues that arose over the past 16 months. As a result, new priorities have emerged, including an increased emphasis on open lines of communication, intentional listening and fostering more inclusive communities.
  • 95 percent said that being resilient was important as they advanced in their careers.
  • When asked to define resilience, they use optimism, adaptability, and agility but when asked about showing resilience during the pandemic they used empathy, compassion, and grace.

The female executives included in the in-depth survey represent a range of industries across more than 150 of the world’s leading organizations. For more information or to download the full report, please visit:


KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit

The KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, now in its seventh year, brings together top leaders from business, politics, sports and media to help forge a path for women leaders to advance to the C-suite. It provides hundreds of rising executive women, nominated by their CEOs to participate in the program, with high-impact leadership development content, access to today’s top leaders and year-long networking opportunities. The Summit is being held virtually on June 23. Live streaming coverage begins at 11:00 a.m. ET at


KPMG LLP is the U.S. firm of the KPMG global organization of independent professional services firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. The KPMG global organization operates in 146 countries and territories and has close to 227,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

KPMG is widely recognized for being a great place to work and build a career. Our people share a sense of purpose in the work we do, and a strong commitment to community service, inclusion and diversity, and eradicating childhood illiteracy. Learn more at


CONTACT: Ichiro Kawasaki