Article updated Nov. 3, 2021
Before the world was transformed by the pandemic, the World Economic Forum was estimating 99.5 years to reach gender parity in the workplace worldwide. In 2021, the foundation estimates that this progress has been slowed by a generation: it will now take until 2157, meaning more than 135 years for men and women to truly be neck and neck. So, let’s use this valuable time to catch-up and change things, here and now, to get ahead of this prognosis.
Here are 5 reasons to hire more women, that will convince you that we need parity, yesterday.
1. More women, more money
Many studies conclude that workplace equity has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. When evaluating 2,400 companies worldwide, Crédit Suisse, an international investment bank, found that high net worth companies with women on their boards outperformed those with only men by 26%. Also in terms of boards, McKinsey, an American management consulting firm, reports that profitability increases by 28% when boards are diversified. The reasons? Female board members’ ability to attract the best talent and their superior understanding of the customer.
Furthermore, a worldwide study conducted by McKinsey shows that companies with more women executives are 25% more likely to generate above-average profits. Thanks to these great profits, no need to ask men to take a pay cut to give equal pay to women, as Emma Stone did a few years ago; women’s salaries get raised to an equal level! Wonderful, isn’t it?
The bonus: women’s power is also being felt in the global economy. Indeed, a country’s economic growth rate increases as it moves towards parity, as is highlighted in the Women’s Power Index. By closing Canada’s gender gap, the global GDP could increase by 26%. That’s no small feat!
2. More women, more efficiency
Women have a much harder time than men making themselves heard in meetings; women get interrupted more and their ideas are valued less. However, studies have shown that communication improves in groups where there are more women: everyone speaking in turn lets everyone better express themselves, pooling skills and ideas. A real plus for productivity.
Various studies also show that diverse work teams solve problems more quickly, make decisions more efficiently, and develop stronger bonds, which greatly influences workflow and boosts corporate performance and competitiveness.
3. More women, more innovation
It’s a known fact: homogeneous thinking is bad for innovation. It’s why Japanese industrial giant Hitachi set a target, in 2017, of increasing the ratio of women executives and corporate officers, who represented a mere 2.5%. Since this ratio has risen to 10% today, the organization has set more ambitious diversity targets. The goal is now 30% women executives and corporate officers, as well as 30% non-Japanese individuals (men and women) by 2030.
The Harvard Business Review also states that collective intelligence increases with diversity, which leads to new working methods, a galvanizing effect, and the diversification of opinions.
Companies with more women leaders thus see their “innovation potential” increase. A study by The Everest Project, Women Redefining Corporate America, shows that over half of strategic or cultural transformation in American companies has been led by women.
While the argument around the intrinsic qualities of women is hardly unanimous, the publication nonetheless goes ahead with their own interpretation: the greater humility of women leaders seems to weigh in their favour. Often viewed as a weakness, humility is the new ultimate leadership tool. “Used strategically, it cultivates an environment conducive to change and ground ripe for innovation.” Food for thought!
4. More women, more effective retention
Considering how much time and energy is invested, and the costs linked to recruitment and training of new talent, retention is crucial for organizations. And even more so during a full-fledged talent war.
Companies known for their culture and diversity have less difficulty finding better workers and keeping them. Because an inclusive culture helps improve moral, along with fostering opportunities for advancement, employees stay in the job longer. Indeed, Catalyst estimates that 20% of employees’ interest in staying with a company is related to feeling included, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
5. More women, more… women!
Since the four reasons above demonstrate that gender equality at work has only advantages, you might be wondering why it’s not already a done deal… It’s that there are still habits to change and myths to debunk.
If these stereotypes exasperate you, here’s one final argument in favour of this equality: having more women in your company has a direct impact on the number of women who will come aboard down the line. A 2015 study done by PwC shows the importance of having role models of women in leadership within organizations. It states that 67% of women highlight the influence of female representativeness on their decision to accept a job. This percentage climbs to 76% for young women starting their careers.