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Diversity and inclusion continues to be a hot topic of discussion around the world today – whether it’s about the issue of gender pay gaps, the proportion of a diverse and inclusive workforce, gender representation at the management and board level, and more.
On that note, a recently-published report by the United Nations International Labour Organization (UN ILO), titled ‘Women in Business and Management: The business case for change‘ proves just why businesses need to hire more women to create a gender-diverse workforce.
Of the various points shared in the report, we highlight below three key ones HR leaders need to know:
#1 Gender diversity is better for business outcomes, creativity, and more
Based on the report, with women being an ‘underutilised resource in an era of skills shortages’, businesses will benefit by investing more time in recruiting and advancing their women employees, for instance through comprehensive maternity leaves.
In fact – in a survey of nearly 13,000 businesses across the world, conducted by the UN ILO and employer and business membership organisations, 57% of respondents agree gender diversity initiatives do improve business outcomes.
Of those that reported improved business outcomes, the following were revealed: more than 60% reported higher profitability and productivity; 56.8% reported an increased ability to attract and retain talent; 54.4% reported greater creativity, innovation and openness; 54.1% said their company’s reputation had been enhanced; and 36.5% reported being better able to gauge consumer interest.
Apart from that, a point on women being promoted to management roles was highlighted: Nearly 74% of businesses who tracked the quantitative impact of gender diversity initiatives reported a profit increase of between 5% and 20%, with the majority globally seeing increases of between 10% to 15%.
#2 There are more women graduates, and they are almost on par with men in STEM
Even with the shortage of skills as a prevalent issue, there continues to be a widening talent pool of women. More importantly, the data below reflects how women across regions are surpassing men in terms of tertiary education. On average, more women are graduating from tertiary education as compared to men, in all regions except Africa.
Women are also expanding their skillsets in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), skills that are high in demand. Although this field predominantly comprises men, a number of countries do see women graduates in the field on par with their male counterparts.
#3 Firms are 20% more likely to have improved outcomes with gender-balanced boards
Globally, it was found that a ‘pyramid structure’ still exists businesses, with businesses reporting less than 30% of women increases at the higher management levels.
For instance, when broken down into functional senior and mid-management roles (support functions) – the highest share of women was seen in HR, at 51.7%. This was followed by finance and administration (49.8%), marketing and sales (37.8%) and communications and public relations (36.1%).
While no findings have been revealed regarding the benefits of women in management roles yet, it was revealed that business performances can improve when women sit on the board.
In particular, when boardrooms comprise 30% to 39% women, businesses are 18.5% more likely to have improved outcomes. Further, when boardrooms are gender-balanced, the businesses are 20% more likely to have improved outcomes.
Lead image and infographics / United Nations International Labour Organization