Despite the growing number of women obtaining advanced degrees in business, the gender gap between men and women in executive positions is actually growing according to a study by the London Business School’s Lehman Brothers Center for Women in Business.
The study researched 100 ‘knowledge workers’ in 21 companies across 17 countries and found the following to be true:
Teams of employees where the gender balance is equal tend to come up with more creative and innovative ideas than groups dominated by either men or women. The mixed gender groups were on average more likely to experiment, to pool knowledge and to complete their tasks as needed regardless of whether the team leader was male or female.
Despite the group’s findings, led by team leader Professor Lynda Gratton, companies still fail to promote an equal number of women to management and executive level positions as men. Gratton says:
“To every chief executive we ask: why, given the evidence that to do so results in suboptimal performance, do you persevere in recruiting disproportionate numbers of men to senior ranks? Across most industrial sectors, while 50% of graduates recruited are women, only 30% of managers are women and about 15% of senior executives are women. Clearly, there is a leak in the pipeline that filters out many women en route to the corporate suite. The executives who continue to ask for a business case should now turn their analytical skills to the management of their own employee base. Every chief executive should now see that these actions are a crucial part of their vision of good business.”
Bravo, Ms. Gratton! Now, I challenge companies to respond.