The new report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY demonstrates that companies with at least 30 percent women in leadership roles may boost their net profit margins by about 15 percent. The report compares results with companies with no female leaders. The news reported earlier this week has generated good media interest and encouraging noises from many concerned with the progress of women in business.
The challenge is for organisations, big and small, to make the changes needed to encourage women to stay the course. There's good evidence that this needs to start with the senior leadership team. Whatever the gender make-up of the C-Suite, there has to be a willingness and drive to get more women to climb the ladder to senior positions.
Marcus Noland from the Peterson Institute makes a good point about the necessity for a pipeline of talent. In the seminars and workshops CTN provides for women to increase skills in leadership and behavioural awareness we often find that even the most talented and able candidates are unwilling to promote themselves to boost promotional success. Boosting confidence through the acquisition of skills does help women to build resilience - an essential quality in modern business.
Sound HR policies and practices are needed too.
Actively encouraging women to apply for new roles and presenting a gender-balanced field of candidates for positions are steps that negate some of the reluctance that women feel towards the job application process. Women's inherent risk aversion is well-documented and illustrated by Hewlett Packard's famous review of applicants for internal positions published in 2008. This showed that women in the study only applied for positions when they demonstrated 100 percent of requirements whereas the average for men was as little as 60 percent.
For more information about CTN's Women in Leadership Programme and the courses available see http://www.ctn.co.uk/our-services/women-in-leadership/
The study, which examined data from about 22,000 companies in 91 countries, found the biggest gains took place when women were in the so-called C-suite, holding senior executive positions such as chief financial officer or chief operating officer. Companies run by a woman chief executive officer without other women in the C-suite or on the board of directors don’t perform particularly better or worse than male-run firms, the study found. "Women in positions of leadership are associated with superior corporate performance,” said Marcus Noland, Peterson’s executive vice president and director of studies. "The most important finding of the study is the importance of having a pipeline" of women at the top.