The benefits available by placing gender diversity values at the heart of your business can be context dependent, particularly in relation to the Industry or Region you operate in, but it clearly has advantages.
A gender diverse team leads to more innovative and creative thinking. For investors it can signal that a company is competently run, increasing its appeal. And when it comes to recruitment, it should be considered that talented individuals make choices based on companies that do better with their diversity.
A diverse workforce is an attractive working environment for talent - with most job seekers looking for a gender diverse workplace when evaluating a job offer. This is particularly true of female candidates and especially so when candidates consider the leadership team.
It’s now considered that gender diversity is driving companies to outperform peers by enabling a culture where there is a better exchange of ideas. This chimes with what we discovered when researching Age and Culturally diverse workforces - when teams made up of people from different contexts work together those varying perspectives lead to greater creative output.
The reason investors tend to look highly at companies with gender diverse workforces, particularly in a context where gender diversity is generally accepted, is because it signals to them that a firm is well-run.
Investors value companies that adopt commonly accepted positive values, such as gender inclusion – again, emphasized when there is a female board or leadership presence.
While studies have shown that gender diversity relates to a more productive businesses, measured by market value and revenue, it is only visibly beneficial when gender diversity is accepted as ‘normal’.
By ‘normal’, we mean where there is a widespread shared value that gender diversity is important. So even if your company establishes policies or frameworks that resonate with the values of gender diversity, if there is a strong patriarchal culture your company, the net effect may be insignificant.
This is also true of companies trying to capture the benefits where regional or Industry support for gender diversity is mostly lip service.
It’s clear that with most of the global business community now extremely supportive of the gender equality agenda, gender diversity is vitally important but to capture the benefits, a true culture of gender diversity should be promoted as much as the actual value it brings.