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Firms with women in senior roles outperformed companies run by men by almost 40%, new research has found

The study, “WOMEN COUNT 2021 – Role, Value, and Number of Female Executives in the FTSE 350” conducted by The Pipeline, discovered companies with more women in top positions managed to make more money during the 15 months of the Covid crisis.

  • Firms with women making up at least half of the executive committee secured a profit margin of 21.2 per cent, while FTSE 350 companies without female executives endured on average a decline in profits of 17.5 per cent.
  • The study discovered if all FTSE 350 firms with less than a third of women on their executive committees were to manage to attain the same profit margin as those with 33 per cent and more, the UK economy would gain an extra £123 billion in pre-tax profit.

However, only five per cent of women hold CEO positions in FTSE 350 companies and the report found gender parity in senior jobs has been delayed another four years – estimated not to be achieved until 2036.


Nicole Sahin, Founder and CEO of Globalization Partners, said: 

“Time and time again, research shows that organisations that have a high percentage of diversity financially outperform their competitors. However, the reality is that while many women and male allies are championing workplace diversity, only 5 of the top Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index companies are steered by women. And at that current rate of growth, it would take more than 80 years for the number to reach 50%.

“In order to achieve greater balance sooner, management teams must make equality for everyone a priority – from the recruiting process, through professional development and management training. All female leaders need to claim their place at the table.

“After all, teams that have a mix of all genders, sexualities, and ethnicities will be more collaborative, creative and successful. I’ve found that to absolutely be the case in my experience at Globalization Partners. And whilst making a commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive culture requires more than a simple step, the data clearly indicates that diverse companies perform better and are better for society in turn – the return on investment in gender equality efforts are undoubtedly worth it.”

Agata Nowakowska 100x100Agata Nowakowska, Area Vice President at Skillsoft, said:

“This research is a reminder for organisations to question whether they are doing their part in removing gender discrimination from the workplace. After all, gender equality isn’t just an issue for females in a business, it affects the organisation as a whole.

“Women bring a different dynamic, different thinking and different strategies – so why not have equal representation of genders when it comes to the boardroom? Despite the number of women in leadership positions on the increase, many women across organisations – from the directors to roles in IT support – are still in the minority. We’re now in 2021, women should be equally represented.

“We need to teach about gender equality within schools. Both boys and girls need to learn to regard themselves as equal and they are both capable of taking up any role, whether that’s in STEM or leadership. Educating children at a young age is the only way to remove unconscious bias that affects us later on in our professional working life.”

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