Knowledge Center

Northrop Grumman Corporation—Building the Best Culture, Leveraging the Power of Women

Northrop Grumman Corporation began its US-based initiative, Building the Best Culture, Leveraging the Power of Women, in 2010 to shape a diverse pipeline of leaders that would be ready for future executive positions. As the company was making plans for future growth, projections for normal retirements were increasing, and the lack of diversity in engineering disciplines required the company to design a comprehensive initiative to expand the leadership pipeline, with a specific requirement for diverse representation inclusive of women and people of color. The initiative has five strategic elements: leadership commitment, talent acquisition, work-life integration, employee development, and building the future pipeline.

Key components and programs include: 

  • Leadership commitment to drive culture change from the top, creating a role model for diversity in the executive team, and holding all executives accountable for diversity in performance metrics.

  • A drive for new and more robust sources of diverse talent, as well as measuring and reporting the diversity of candidate slates for all management positions (10,000+) in quarterly business performance review meetings.

  • Leadership programs such as the Executive Leadership Program, Women and Leadership, and the Leadership Cohort Program, in which participants are nominated from succession processes, form strong cross-functional business networks as cohorts, and gain visibility to the executive team and strategic issues. Participant diversity for all programs was also measured.

  • The Women’s Conference and Inclusive Leadership Conference nurture and develop talent across the company, with consistently strong participation from board members and company executives.

Representation of women, including women of color, has increased across levels from 2010 to 2016. Women's representation on the board increased from 15.4% to 21.4%, and on the executive team it has grown from 8.3% to 46.0%. At the vice president level, women overall increased from 15.5% to 29.1% and women of color increased from 2.0% to 4.4%. At the director level, women’s representation increased from 19.4% to 26.9% overall and from 2.6% to 5.7% for women of color.