Companies With Women Executives Perform Better – So Why Has Representation Stagnated?

The results of the Pipeline’s Women Count 2017 survey were recently published, and they raise some pretty interesting and important questions about female leadership, and the progress we’re making towards ensuring that women are given the opportunity to thrive in senior roles.

It was found that FTSE 350 companies with at least 25% of women on the leadership committees delivered almost twice the profit margin as those with no women on the team – the companies with no women on the leadership board achieving worst of all surveyed.

It’s safe to assume a link here. Forward thinking businesses who ensure that women are given the support and opportunity they need to create successful careers as leaders are the ones which will reap the benefits; financial, or otherwise.

But not all businesses are stepping up. The percentage of women on executive committees remains at just 16%, and the number of companies without any women has actually increased since last year’s survey.

Of course, the findings from the report came at the same time as the BBC revealed some pretty shocking information on how it pays its presenters. Only a third of those earning more than £150,000 per year are women. And it remains to be seen whether the new Dr. Who star will be paid the same as Peter Capaldi, as it is claimed she will be.

Lorna Fitzsimons, co-founder of Pipeline, told the Financial Times, ‘With agendas dominated by Brexit, the focus on gender diversity at senior levels has been slipping. In this climate of low growth, companies cannot miss out on this profit margin advantage’.

She raises a pretty good point. It would be a stretch of the imagination to say that big business leaders are sitting around actively looking for ways to stop women breaking through the glass ceiling.

The real problem is likely to be that with other priorities rising to the top of the list, issues like diversity and equality are pushed aside – and of course, the impact is tangible. Looking at this year’s survey results, it’s would be fair to say that companies are taking their eye off the ball.

We understand that you’re busy. We get that you have a never-ending list of tasks that need your attention, from the changes that are developing as a result of Brexit, to the general day-to-day management of your workforce.

But if you want to cement your reputation as the cream of the employer crop, then it might be time to take a step back and reassess what you’re doing to go the extra mile. It’s easy to get stuck in firefighting mode, and that isn’t what builds exceptional businesses.

If you know that you’re being reactive instead of actively striving to be the best leader that you can be, then let’s talk. Getting some strategic HR help can take your business from average, to truly exemplary.