Throughout corporate America today, there is a lack of gender parity in the C-suite, senior leadership positions, and in corporate boardrooms. It will take twenty-five years to reach gender parity at the senior-VP level, and more than one hundred years in the C-suite. Women in the Workplace 2015, Lean In and McKinsey & Co., September 2015. 56% of C-level executives reported that their organizations have not adopted formal goals to advance gender equality and just 39% identify gender diversity in senior management as a high business priority. Gender Equality in the Executive Ranks: A Paradox- The Journey to 2030, Weber Shandwick, October 2015.
Within the insurance industry, women hold only 12.6% of Board seats, 6% of the top executive positions such as CEO, CFO or COO, and 8% of the named inside officer roles. Saint Joseph’s University 2012 Study of 100 U.S. insurers. 28% of the companies had no female directors, 65% had no female inside officers and 85% had no females in their top executive positions.
It is a competitive advantage for companies to advance toward achieving gender-balanced leadership on a global basis. Boosting gender diversity within a company’s operations provides access to a broader pool of talent, may improve retention, and lower the considerable costs of staff turnover. When business executives around the world were polled about what they believe the most important leadership attributes are for success today, each of the top four—intellectual stimulation, inspiration, participatory decision-making and setting expectations/rewards—were more commonly found among women leaders. Unlocking the Full Potential of Women in the US Economy, Joanna Barish and Lareina Yee, McKinsey & Company, April 2011.
Studies revealed that companies with the highest representation of women on their senior management teams had a 35% higher return on equity and a 34% higher total return to shareholders than companies with the lowest women's representation. The Bottom Line: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity, Catalyst, 2012.
The European Commission concluded that companies with a gender diverse board achieved a 66% greater return on invested capital, and 53% higher return on equity. Women in Economic Decision Making in the EU: Progress Report 2012.
Furthermore, in terms of the pool of future talent, more women than ever are graduating from college and business school, and entering the corporate pipeline. According to a 2013 report from the White House Office of Economic Advisors, women aged 25-34 were 21% more likely than men to be college graduates and 48% more likely than men to complete graduate school. According to a Deloitte Talent in Insurance Survey from 2014, 58% percent of today’s business students are female.
Companies can encourage young women into the industry, retain female talent and remove barriers to advancement by:
- Having a significant number of executive female role models in their organization.
- Ensuring executive women are visible within companies and the industry, and make up a significant percentage of attendees at management summits and onstage roles at presentations.
- Encouraging women to obtain profit and loss experience, and pursue “line” or “business” roles that matter to the company’s bottom line.
- Utilizing formal sponsorship programs for rising female leaders to open doors for promotions. Conducting gender bias training.
- Publishing its gender diversity data.
- Creating benchmarks and setting goals for gender equality in the C-suite, with senior leadership positions, and in the boardroom; and
- Assessing progress.
Caprio Consulting can assist companies develop effective strategies within their organizations to make gains with gender-balanced leadership at all levels.
Caprio Consulting has partnered with Career Agility to help companies gather quantifiable data regarding a company’s culture and alignment for supporting gender equality.