Diversity at the Top: Advancing Female Executive


Written by Sabine Hutchison

Sabine helps life science companies and leaders create the right business narrative, get stakeholder buy-in, navigate growth to reach their full potential to make an impact in their fields.

June 11, 2019

Fewer CEOs are women than named David. When a single name outnumbers an entire gender, it reveals a staggering problem: women are clearly underrepresented in leadership positions. Have you ever considered what impact gender diversity and advancing female executives has on your business? 

Struggles with diversity

Companies struggle with finding senior women for their leadership positions. Often, they use executive recruitment agencies that are male dominated, and there is less focus on the benefits a diverse leadership team can bring. Gender diverse leadership teams usually use a more objective and data-driven decision-making approach when it comes to hiring and promotion practices. This leads to less biased decisions compared to male dominated leadership teams.

Companies spend a lot of time, money, and good intentions on efforts to build more robust diversity and inclusion programs. On the other hand, there is a lot of bias within the organization that prevents it from diverse hiring.

Despite major attention to the problems, companies are still applying unproven solutions, leading to concerning outcomes.

These programs are ineffective, and they drive company leaders to pat themselves on the back for checking the box on diversity, without critical thinking about the systems and structures that caused the problem in the first place. These common corporate approaches to tackling diversity problems often lack to address the inequitable systems and structures.

Diversity is more than just a quota

It’s obvious that diversity is no longer just a matter of fulfilling quotas and creating corporate social responsibility campaigns. Advancing female executives offers so much more:

1. Company culture

Diverse leadership teams are a sign of a healthy and inclusive company culture. It’s not only positively recognized publicly but there is also a statistically significance with financial outperformance compared to non-diverse leadership teams; and, this trend is consistent throughout the past years.

2. Value creation

Companies with gender diverse executive teams outperform on profitability by 21% and are 27% more likely to have superior value creation.

3. Lower turnover

Women build knowledge through mentoring, and research shows that companies with a formal mentoring culture have 20% lower turnover and 46% higher quality-leaders.

4. Profitability

Still, less than 20% of executive committee and corporate board members are women. Although, it is proven that boards with at least three women directors are about 50% more profitable.

We could literally go on and on with these facts, but where does this lead us? To make an impact, we need to be part of the change and start acting by taking the matter seriously and incorporating efficient gender diversity initiatives.

Dive deeper into the topic by watching this video of Sabine Hutchison and Susan Braakman. They are discussing the current landscape, the benefits of gender diversity and what companies can do about it.

Adding balance

Bringing women to senior positions is crucial, and we, at Seuss+, take diversity in leadership seriously. Here are our keys to advancing female executives:

1. Diversity should be a critical part of innovation

Good leaders strive to achieve diversity in their organization, and research shows that diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones. In his study, Davis noted that companies with women at the top performed much better compared to those with only men. The results indicated a median return almost 74% higher than the groups surveyed overall.

2. Never be “too busy” for diversity initiatives

According to a SHRM report, 41% of managers are “too busy” to implement diversity initiatives. It may be true that managers have too much on their plates to handle on a given day, but the statistics reveal just how small of a priority diversity hiring is. Commitment, internal recruitment, development programs and mentorship can help funnel more women to leadership positions, ensuring that diversity is maintained.

3. Blind applications

On average, blind applications lead to five times more women applying for positions. Eliminating unconscious biases and stereotypes by creating an even playing field gives all candidates an opportunity to a fair chance.

4. Clear accountability

CEOs and business leaders must define a clear vision and strategy of their diversity targets with real accountability for delivery. This needs to be communicated and live up to throughout the whole organization. This is crucial for building teams who are motivated and wanting to lead a change in their work.

The Seuss+ approach

At Seuss+, we understand the complexity of hiring the right candidate for the position. Our female leaders know where to find, and how to recruit the next female executives for your company.

Advancing female executives is not about reaching a quota for PR purposes; the numbers don’t lie. We take a holistic approach to recruitment. It’s not just about the CV, it’s important to understand the individual journeys to find the best job match.

Additionally, we attend networking events designed for women to speak and meet the next leaders. Our belief in embracing and encouraging diversity is the way of the future.

Contact us to find out how we can change the way you recruit and make a positive change to your leadership.

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