Gender leadership diversity linked to better performance: Study

by L&D26 Sep 2016
Gender diversity (in both board and senior management positions) is a “tremendous benefit” to companies and their shareholders, according to Stefano Natella, Head of Global Markets Research at Credit Suisse.  

“Management manages companies, while boards supervise them. To understand the full impact of gender diversity, we need to focus on management,” added Natella.

“Our proprietary CS Gender 3000 database allows us to link companies’ performance with their management structure.

“The data shows that there is a strong correlation between companies with high levels of diversity in management and their performance.”

Natella’s comments come amid new research based on 27,000 senior managers at over 3,000 companies covered by Credit Suisse analysts globally.

The research found that companies with a higher participation of women in decision-making roles continue to generate higher market returns and better profits.

Looking at the 12 markets in Asia Pacific, Australia has the highest representation of women in the boardroom, jumping from 10.8% to 20.1% over the past six years. However, it only grew marginally by 0.2% over the past couple of years.  

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the percentage of women in the boardroom has increased marginally from 7.9% in 2010 to 9.9% in 2015.

Australia also ranked twelfth in terms of boardroom diversity among the 35 countries surveyed. 

However, in terms of management diversity, Australia lost its global top 10 ranking spot after seeing female representation in senior management fall from 18.9% in 2014 to 17.1% in 2016.

The Asia Pacific region enjoys the highest level of female CEOs. At 4.6% across the continent, this is helping to improve diversity at the senior level and below. However, both Emerging Asia and Developed Asia saw a decline in female CEO representation from two years ago (by about 1%).

Boardroom diversity has increased globally from 12.7% at the end of 2013 to 14.7% at year-end 2015, a 16% increase in two years and a 54% increase since 2010.

The top five nations with the highest percentage of women represented on corporate boards are Norway (46.7%), France (34.0%), Sweden (33.6%), Italy (30.8%) and Finland (30.8%).

Credit Suisse said their proprietary analysis continues to demonstrate that the higher the percentage of women in top management, the greater the excess returns for shareholders.

“Hard metrics of financial performance have also justified this superior stock market performance according to the data,” said the report.

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