A new study released by the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY, the audit firm formerly known as Ernst & Young, shined an interesting light on the diversity problem in modern companies. First, they found a lack of women in the top seats at companies. Second, they found where that where women had been hired or promoted to top management roles, profits rose.
(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)
Women at the Top = More Profits
The study showed that while female CEOs didn’t necessarily statistically prove higher profitability (though they did see some evidence of it), increasing women in top management positions was associated with a 15 percent rise in profits.
What the study also suggested is that more needs to be done to establish a larger pipeline of women who were gearing their careers to go all the way to the top of the heap. So the next question is, how do we get companies to keep women in their workforce long enough and promote them regularly enough to create a larger group of women in management positions?
Keeping Eyes Open to Women in the Workplace
All around you, you might see women peeling off from the management career track. Maybe they don’t come back after maternity leave, or maybe they just don’t think they’ll get promoted, so they look elsewhere for a better path. Is your employer in this kind of rut?
To keep women engaged, managers should invest in mentoring and fostering discussion about career goals. If employers offer women a shot the positions they’re interested in, instead of keeping them locked away in a perpetual boys’ club, they might feel encouraged enough to stick around.
Helping at Work, Helping Home Life
Surprisingly, The Peterson Institute’s study didn’t find that better maternity leave policies correlated with increased female leadership — but paternity leave did.
“One might have expected to find a significant and positive result for maternity leave — that is, countries that provide mothers with more generous terms for caring for their babies and toddlers should have larger shares of female leaders — but the data do not find this to be the case,” the authors write. “If these correlations are interpreted causally, one could argue that countries in which fathers have access to more leave have significantly more women on corporate boards.”
There are, of course, plenty of other theories for how to get women into leadership roles, and they are pretty straightforward ones. They involve being upfront about promotion possibilities, promoting flexible work schedules, and offering options for collaboration in the workplace. All nice things to have, yes?
Tell Us What You Think
What does your employer do to promote women? What were the results? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.