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June 13, 2016

Makeover Monday: Women are Underrepresented in Leadership at U.S. Corporations

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The chart for this week’s Makeover Monday is an excerpt from Women in the Workplace, a study undertaken by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey.

What works well?
  • The chart tells a powerful story of the decreasing representation of women as leadership levels increase.
  • Using red for women draws the eye to those portions.
  • The table allows you to compare to 2012.
  • The pipes are ordered from lowest-level role to the highest-level role.
  • Good reference to the source

What could be improved?
  • They took the “pipeline” analogy too far by creating a "pipe chart".
  • The pipes get smaller as you go left-to-right. I can only guess they are sized by the % of women in each role.
  • The pipes are 3D.
  • The pipes are filled up on an angle, making it way to difficult to gauge what percentage it represents.
  • It’s nearly impossible to compare one role to another.
  • The title could be more impactful.
  • Do the pipes represent 2012 or 2015? There’s no way to tell.
  • The chart doesn’t allow for comparisons between 2012 and 2015.

Basically, I think this chart is horrible. It’s quite possibly one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. This isn’t about the author the person. Clearly they aren’t educated in data visualisation. I’d bet they working in marketing.

Again this week, I used Tableau’s story points feature to show my step-by-step makeover. This week was pretty quick. I was able to iterate through all of this in under an hour.

As a stand-alone version, I would make the chart slightly taller, like this one below. Click on it for an interactive version.

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