The Telegraph: Britain’s most successful companies have women in senior roles

Photo credit: HANDOUT

Britain’s most successful companies tend to have a large proportion of women in senior management roles but the UK lags behind the US and Australia on diversity at the top, new research suggests.

Between 2011 and 2015, the most gender diverse quarter of companies were 20pc more likely than the least diverse to have above average financial performance, a report by management consultants McKinsey found.

Dame Vivian Hunt, who runs McKinsey’s UK business, said: “The correlation between diversity and financial performance is clear across different sectors and geographies: more diverse teams equals significant financial outperformance.”

The proportion of women on FTSE boards has soared since 2011 amid government and shareholder pressure to boost diversity at the top. But while women now make up around a third of non-executive directors, their representation among senior management teams is much lower.

The research showed UK firms are well above the global average with around 15pc of executive roles held by women, but they drag behind their rivals in the US, on 19pc, and Australia on 21pc. Even with the promotion of GKN’s Anne Stevens last week, just seven FTSE 100 companies currently have women chief executives.

From April, all UK companies with at least 250 staff will be forced to publish the gap between what they pay men and women in an effort to encourage firms to level the playing field.

Lady Barbara Judge, the first female chairman of the Institute of Directors, told The Daily Telegraph last week: “The main cause of the [pay] gap is the fact fewer women progress up the work ladder than men. Much more must be done to ensure more women reach the executive level.”

The McKinsey research also found correlation between ethnic diversity and financial performance, particularly in the UK. Globally, those companies with a low proportion of both female and ethnic minority executives were 29pc more likely to financially underperform than their peers.

Financial services firms top the charts for gender diversity, while telecoms, media and technology companies were the best for ethnic diversity, the report said.

Dame Hunt said: “Companies promote diversity for many reasons. Our research shows that central among these should be the fact that diversity has a demonstrable relationship to inclusive growth and longer-term value creation, particularly when it is found at the executive level.”

Business Insider: One map shows how much more money men make than women in every US state

  • April 10 is Equal Pay Day, a symbolic day meant to bring awareness to the gender wage gap in the United States.
  • Overall, American women make 80.5% of the median salary for men.
  • The disparity varies widely by state and race. Wyoming has the widest gender wage gap in the nation at 36%.

Fifty-five years after the the United States passed the Equal Pay Act, women in the US still face a substantial gender wage gap. On Tuesday, the country is recognizing Equal Pay Day, which was established in 1996 to highlight this disparity.

Today, on average, an American woman earns around 80 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are $10,500 less than men’s, according to a recent report by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff.

But that gender wage gap can vary widely depending on the location.

The map below shows which US states have the most and least severe gender wage gaps. Using US Census Bureau data from 2016 (the most recent year available), it compares the median earnings of men to those of women.

gender wage gap map 2016 Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

In Wyoming, the gender wage gap is 36%, the biggest in the nation. Twenty-three states in the country currently have gender pay gaps that are larger than the national average of 19.5% — though that’s down from 32 states in 2015. The narrowest gender wage gap exists in New York and Delaware, where women earn 89% of the median salary for men.

The gender wage gap is even wider between white men and women of color. In Maryland, for example, Hispanic women tend to earn just 49% of what white men make.

Most states have implemented laws against gender discrimination, and all but three states (Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee) have laws prohibiting employers from discriminating on the basis of gender.

While progress has been made towards pay parity between men and women, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research predicts that wages will not be equal until 2059.

HBR: Do Women’s Networking Events Move the Needle on Equality?


Recently, I was flying home from the Conference for Women, where I had been invited to speak. I was carefully holding a copy of the conference program on my lap — my mom likes to save them, and I wanted to be a good son and bring her back an unwrinkled copy. The guy sitting next to me on the airplane noticed it and asked me about the conference. I told him it’s a series of nonprofits across the country that run conferences for women from all industries to talk about leadership, fairness, and success. He then surprised me by saying, “I’m all for equality, but I’m not sure what good a conference will do.” Done with the conversation, he put on his headphones, content in his cynicism as I stewed, trying to come up with the best, albeit incredibly delayed, response.

By the time I landed, I realized the best response to such a cynical attitude would be data. It won’t change anyone’s mindset to just claim that connecting women is “important” and will “have an impact at work and in society.” We need to show that it actually does. That’s why Michelle Gielan, best-selling author of Broadcasting Happiness, and I partnered with the Conference for Women to see if we could test the long-term effects of uniting women. Spoiler alert: The results astounded even us.

In our initial study of 2,600 working women across functions and industries attending Conferences for Women in several U.S. states, we examined several outcomes that occurred in the year after the women attended the conference. Since women who attend a conference might be different demographically and psychographically from women who elect not to, we used a control group that was made up of women who signed up for a conference but had not yet attended.

As part of the study, we were looking for two types of positive outcomes in women attending a conference: financial outcomes (pay raises and promotions) and intellectual outcomes (increased optimism, lower stress levels, and a feeling of connection). Since we were looking at financial outcomes, we made sure the time period we studied was the same for the research group and the control group, to account for any changes in the larger economic landscape.

For the women who’d signed up for the conference but had yet to attend, 18% received a promotion during the time period we studied, compared with 42% of women who had already attended the conference. In other words, in the year after connecting with peers at the Conference for Women, the likelihood of receiving a promotion doubled. (I wish I could find that guy on the plane to share this stat with him.)

In addition, 5% of the women in the control group received a pay increase of more than 10%, compared with the 15% of women who had attended the conference. That means that in one year, attendees had triple the likelihood of a 10%+ pay increase. (Remember, this isn’t selection bias — women in the control group were also signed up to attend a future conference.)

We also polled the women who’d attended the conference about how it affected their overall outlook. 78% percent of them reported feeling “more optimistic about the future” after attending. While we did not compare this with the control group’s outlook, this still seemed like a significant finding to us in part because of what we know about how a positive mindset can affect other aspects of life. In my HBR article “Positive Intelligence,” I describe how optimism can create a “happiness advantage,” where nearly every business and educational outcome improves as a result.

Perhaps most tellingly, 71% of the attendees said that they “feel more connected to others” after attending. This is important. In my book Big Potential, I outline why the greatest predictor of success and happiness is social connection. Research has shown that social connection can be as predictive of how long you will live as obesity, high blood pressure, or smoking. There is power in connection. I start Big Potential with the story of a study of synchronous lightning bugs from Indonesia, in which researchers at MIT found that if lightning bugs light up alone, their success rate for reproduction is 3%. If they light up simultaneously with thousands of other lightning bugs, their success rate rises to 86%. By lighting together, they could space themselves out to maximize resources, and the increase in their collective brightness would help them be seen for up to five miles! I wrote Big Potential because I have found that if people feel like they are trying to get out of depression alone, or fighting inequality alone, or striving for success alone, they burn out and the world feels like a huge burden. But there is a powerful, viable alternative to individually pursuing success and happiness: doing it together.

I’m not sure every conference would have such a long-term positive impact. I have been to quite a few where either the conference is unengaging or the attendees are disengaged and on their phones. I think it’s safe to say there is an inverse relationship between the benefits you’ll get from a conference and the time you spend on your laptop or phone.

But the key to a beneficial conference, based on my experience speaking at more than 900 conferences over the past 12 years, are (1) a sense of social connection felt by the attendees, (2) engaging sessions, (3) leaders who role model and exemplify the qualities that the conference is attempting to instill, (4) a memorable moment, and (5) a realistic assessment of the present with an optimistic look to the future. Based on the responses of the women in this sample group, we see elevated optimism and social connection, as well as superstar role models (for example, Michelle Obama and Brené Brown also spoke at the event I went to). Moreover, many of the sessions offered practical applications for moving forward at work, such as how to ask for a raise, or stories from other women to let you know that your experiences at work are not unusual or isolated.

Laurie Dalton White, founder of the Conferences for Women, adds, “Something special happens when you see that you are not alone. Making connections and building relationships with other attendees and speakers helps women form an understanding of their worth, and then they learn strategies to ask for promotions, seek fair pay, and even become mentors to others. We invite women like Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg to speak at our conferences not just because of their own personal success stories, but because they are role models who inspire women in both big and small ways.”

There is power in connecting, and it’s not just about gender. Men and women alike can benefit from the power of connection. If you are a manager, encourage your employees to go to events where they can connect with others to remind them that they are not pursuing success and happiness alone. If you are a CEO, invest in conferences that help build up all members of your organization, regardless of where they sit in the organizational hierarchy.

We have so much more to learn about the value of connection in a hyper-competitive world. To the guy sitting on my plane: This research shows that cynicism regarding women’s conferences and initiatives is unfounded, unconstructive, and uninformed. To the rest of us seeking a positive path forward at work and in society, regardless of gender: We must pursue happiness and success together. Like the lightning bugs, rather than trying to light up the darkness alone and in isolation, there is power when we add our light to something bigger. In doing so, we shine brighter.


Photo source: Martin Konopka/EyeEm/Getty Images 

Women in the Workplace 2017 study

Women in the Workplace 2017 is a comprehensive study of the state of women in corporate America. This research is part of a long-term partnership between LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company to give organizations the information they need to promote women’s leadership and foster gender equality.

This year 222 companies employing more than 12 million people shared their pipeline data and completed a survey of HR practices. In addition, more than 70,000 employees completed a survey designed to explore their experiences regarding gender, opportunity, career, and work-life issues. To our knowledge, this makes Women in the Workplace the largest study of its kind.

Read the report.

Forbes: 5 Ways Men Can Be Women’s Allies At Work

As I looked out into the crowd at a recent conference where I was speaking, I saw a sea of women ready to develop their leadership skills, hone their assertive communication, and invest in their professional advancement.

Sitting in the far back right of the room was a lone white man, who throughout the entire weekend sat quietly, listened attentively, and took notes. At the very end of the weekend, as I was about to roll out to the airport, he thanked me for the insights he had gained – not only from what was presented but also from the experience of sitting in a room full of people who identify as women, from all walks of life, sharing their experiences, frustrations, and triumphs in a world where women leaders still face gender bias in all it’s overt and covert forms.

“I’m really working to become a better ally to women in my workplace,” he told me, as he listed off some of the take-aways he was going to start implementing immediately.

I knew then I needed to flip my lens and focus on the practices men can embrace to advocate for gender equality. I so often find myself addressing crowds of women, that I have fallen into the habit of focusing on how women can “lift as we climb,” and forgetting to also ask for actionable support from those who benefit the most from historical systems of oppression: the white guys.

Still today, despite the many strides women have made in attaining more degrees than our male counterparts and serving as the majority of middle managers in the US workforce, men still account for 75% of all S&P 500 executive and senior-level officials. Men hold 80% of S&P 500 board seats, constitute 94% of CEOs, and hold just about 80% of the seats in Congress.

For the men who also want to make a more equitable world a reality, here are 5 simple steps you can implement right away:

  1. Amplify

As the women of the Obama White House exemplified, amplification can be a powerful tool in combatting unconscious bias at work. Regardless of malintent, women are much more likely than men to be interrupted, and many women report having their ideas only taken seriously when reiterated by a man in the room.

But male allies can help give credit where credit is due. When you hear a woman at work being talked over, interrupted, or worse — having her ideas co-opted by someone else — speak up to help pass the mic back her way.

“Hey, I don’t think Tamika was finished getting her point across. Tamika, did you want to add to that?”

“You’re right, that’s a great idea. I believe it was Marnie who raised this earlier, right? Marnie, what were you saying about this originally?”

“I feel like we’ve heard from everyone in the room on this except Allison and Renee. Did you want to chime in?”

Use your privilege like a spotlight to highlight the words of women who might otherwise fall on deaf ears.

  1. Mentor & Sponsor More Women

Countless amounts of research has found that establishing an ongoing mentor relationship with professionals on the rise is critical for providing the kind of valuable counsel and support needed throughout a woman’s career. But sponsorship can be even more critical.

Serving as a sponsor is like being a power broker: sponsors connect women with the substantive opportunities and networks of power needed for continued career success.

In a Catalyst report called Sponsoring Women to Success, researchers found that having a sponsor can be a career accelerator:

“Good sponsors can supercharge a woman’s career by providing her with access to essential networks, bringing her achievements to the attention of senior-level executives, and recommending her for key assignments,” said Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO of Catalyst. “Effective sponsors also provide career coaching and guidance that enable protégés to make broader and more strategic contributions to their organizations.”

Even the most well-intentioned professionals are likely to find themselves more often mentoring and sponsoring young people who remind them of themselves at the start of their career – it’s simply how we’re wired to be biased towards liking those who seem like us. But that’s a problem — one that perpetuates the systemic underrepresentation of women and people of color in leadership.

  1. Call It Out

Everyday sexism can take a toll on women’s professional reputations and internal sense of confidence. Microaggressions – those statements, actions, or incidents that reflect indirect, subtle, and sometimes unintentional discrimination against women and other marginalized minorities – are commonplace in the workplace. And when you take an intersectional approach to understanding gender inequality, it becomes clear that when combined with discrimination based on race, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, women living at those intersections face even more microaggressions than others (ahem, we white women).

So what can a dude do? Call it out. When a colleague calls a woman “aggressive” or “shrill,” explain how that negative framing might gloss over the fact that she’s being assertive — a key skill all leaders need. If women are the ones asked to fetch coffee or take notes in every meeting, question the practice or volunteer yourself. If a colleague makes a sexist joke, speak up to let them know why it’s not okay.

  1. Listen to Women

It’s so simple, but so profound. We spend countless hours focusing on how to become better speakers in our culture, but rarely to we exert the same effort to hone our active listening skills. In a world where little girls are praised for being quiet and still and little boys are expected to be loud and rambunctious, it can be a radical act to practice reversing those roles.

Believe women in your office when they come to you with concerns. Allow women to be the experts on their own gendered experience in the world. Validate women’s experiences, even if you’re feeling called out or are tempted to get defensive. Practice empathically putting yourself in their shoes and trying to understand their experience.

This might even include being proactive about asking the women in your office how you can be a better ally. Get curious about what women need to feel valued, safe, and respected as equals – even if that requires soliciting anonymous feedback.

  1. Advocate for Fair Workplace Policies

When it comes to hiring for new positions, is your company embracing research-driven practices that reduce bias? Does your employer embrace pay transparency or other accountability measures for providing equal pay for equal work? Do you have on-site lactation rooms? Gender-neutral bathrooms? Equal parental leave policies that enable all working parents to thrive?

When men’s voices join women in advocating for these policies on the corporate, state, and national level, we double our collective power.

How else are you stepping up to be an ally for women at work?

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I want to hear from more men on how we can all be stronger advocates for women in the workplace.


For more from Emilie Aries, join her free online courage community at Bossed Up, or tweet her directly at @EmilieAries.


Photo source:

CNN: Women in the Fortune 500: 64 CEOs in half a century


In the history of the Fortune 500, only 62 women have ever made it CEO.


Just this June, Fortune Magazine announced a new milestone in its list of Fortune 500 female CEOs. The number of women CEOs listed had reached an all–time high: 32 in a single year.

The percentage was still small — just 6.4% — but it had finally broken the 5% mark.

The majority of that small percentage are white women. With the departure of Xerox’s Ursula Burns in 2013, there are no longer any African–American women topping Fortune’s list. Only two women of color made the CEO list: Indra Nooyi of Pepsi Co. and Geisha Williams of PG&E Corporation.

Brande Stellings, senior vice president at Catalyst, calls the low number of female CEOs throughout history (just 64 named in the six–decade–long history of the Fortune 500) “pretty remarkable — in a bad way.

“When we have stories about women CEOs that don’t call them women CEOs — you never hear Mark Zuckerberg described as a male CEO — that would be a significant milestone to reach,” she says. “And we’re still pretty far from that.”

With the departures of Avon’s Sheri McCoy and Mondelez, Inc.’s Irene Rosenfeld, two female CEOs leading major companies, the number of women leading in the business world drops yet again.

Below, six milestones in female CEO history:

1889: First-ever female CEO

Yes, Anna Bissell, of the sweeper and vacuum Bissells. When Anna’s husband Melville died in 1889, Anna moved into the CEO spot, soon earning the manufacturer its international recognition.

By the late 1890s, Queen Victoria herself insisted that Buckingham Palace be “Bisselled” to absolute cleanliness.

1972: First-ever female CEO of a Fortune 500 company

Katharine Graham became president of The Washington Post parent in 1963, but when she became CEO in 1972, she broke a new barrier for female CEOs.

Graham frequently found herself to be the only woman in a male-dominated room — the newsroom — in meetings and on the American Newspaper Publishers Association.

1999: First woman CEO to lead a company in the Dow Jones industrial average

Yes, it’s Carly Fiorina — former Republican presidential candidate and Ted Cruz’s former running mate. When she became CEO of Hewlett–Packard in 1999, Fiorina crossed off a new first for female CEOs.

She pointed to her CEO experience as evidence of her leadership capability when she was on the campaign trail in 2016, but her tenure at HP was marred by layoffs and a tech recession.

2009: First-ever woman-to-woman CEO succession

In 2009, Anne Mulcahey left her position as Xerox CEO and Ursula Burns — another woman, gasp! — stepped into the C-suite.

Stellings views this 2009 transition as one of the most important moments in the history of female CEOs.

“It’s rare just to have a woman CEO,” she says. “So that woman–to–woman succession is a milestone and makes it almost more a norm of having exceptional woman leaders.”

2009: First-ever African-American CEO

The first-ever woman–to–woman succession at Xerox also announced the promotion of Ursula Burns, a one-time Xerox intern who rose to the highest position in the company.

“By the time I got to work, I was very used to being around a whole bunch of men who were fairly uncomfortable with difference,” she said.

In a recent conversation with CNNMoney’s Poppy Harlow, Burns says she sees the current age as “a time of power” for women in tech. “We have to own our position in the world and be strong and aggressive about it,” she said.

2014: First female CEO at a big automaker

When Mary Barra became CEO of General Motors in 2013, she also became the first–ever woman to lead an automaker — a huge milestone in the history of the male–dominated industry.

Barra continues to top the Fortune 500 women’s list, and last year earned $22.6 million, more than any auto CEO in the world.


Inc.: Why Microsoft and other Companies Aren’t Just Hiring Women to Address the Gender Gap

Photo credit: Getty Images

As soon as someone utters the words “gender diversity,” it can be easy for a time-pressed leader to tune out. Or, for that matter, an reader. Please don’t tune out just yet.

While most reasonable people agree that gender diversity initiatives are a plus, they can often feel like a nice-to-have compared to board demands, investment decisions, and personnel management. And, there is real cause for concern that the cost of these programs will outweigh the benefits.

Yet gender diversity programs are important specifically because they more diverse companies are proven to perform better financially. Morgan Stanley research recently found that companies that are more gender diverse deliver better financial performance than those that are less diverse.

According to Eva Zlotnicka, a sustainability analyst at Morgan Stanley: “We believe gender diversity across the corporate workforce can impact company valuation through increased employee productivity, greater innovation, more customers, higher talent retention, and better risk management.”

Several companies have embraced this thesis wholeheartedly, and are leading the way with elaborate programs. Accenture has announced a target of 50 percent gender diversity by 2025, and sponsors an annual company-wide International Women’s Day celebration. Microsoft has incorporated team diversity as a component of executive bonuses. Dell sponsors an idea competition through its employee resource group. PwC has invested in leadership skills development programs for high-potential women.

While some of these initiatives may seem costly, successful diversity programs for women don’t need to be grandiose.

Many other companies take a more conventional path to driving gender diversity at their company–including instituting Women’s Employee Resource Groups. While at times these groups can be viewed as wasteful or ineffective, when executed well, Women’s Networks drive motivation, performance and engagement.

Why are women’s initiatives worth the time and money? Success in gender diversity is not just about how many women are within your walls; it’s about making sure they are adequately represented and engaged. As a report from Bay Area tech leader Salesforce found, “Employees who feel their voice is heard at work are nearly five-times (4.6X) more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.”

Whether your company is taking its first baby steps toward gender diversity programming or you are looking to take bold strokes, here’s why your investment in gender diversity programs will pay dividends:

1. Better Perspective for Changing Times

According to a recent report from PwC titled The PwC Diversity Journey, “we live in an era in which five global megatrends–urbanisation, shifting economic power, demographic changes, resource scarcity & climate change, and technological advances – are organically reshaping societies and businesses worldwide.”

PwC asserts that companies with more diverse talent bases are much better equipped to manage these dramatic shifts we face. As the company plans its talent strategy the future, it has prioritized diversity across all work teams.

Further, PwC reminds us that there’s no quick fix to diversity. Efforts to sustain a diverse workforce must be ongoing and underscore all other work activities.

2. More Diverse Skills Bring Better Decision Making

According to Sallie Krawcheck, chair of Ellevest, women generally bring different character traits and skills to the table. These essential skills–such as greater sensitivity to risk, and greater propensity to collaborate–result in a different approach to decision-making, which will serve companies well.

One reason that diverse teams perform better may have to do with more reliance on the facts: a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that diverse teams “raised more facts…and made fewer factual errors.”

Salesforce has taken this concept to heart, and its CEO Marc Benioff has issued a mandate that all meetings must contain 30-50 percent women.

3. Diversity Fuels Innovation

Karen Quintos, chief customer officer at Dell, told me that “diverse teams drive more innovation, which in turn energizes employee engagement and boost corporate performance. We believe our differences are a strength. Inclusive leadership is a competitive advantage.”

Along that line of thinking, each year Dell’s Employee Resource Group holds an annual GameChanger competition where participants are asked to dream up new ideas that are reviewed and pitched to Dell’s executive leadership team. The fundamental idea behind this competition is that diverse knowledge and backgrounds and a fresh perspective will lead to better ideas.

Smaller companies can implement similar initiatives by inviting ideas from all corners of the organization, or handing special projects over to high-potential women to make sure that their concepts can be a part of the conversation.

In other words, if you want to be prepared for the business challenges that lie ahead, you better be thinking about how many women are within your walls–and what investments you’re making to engage them.