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Bringing the family business community together

Increase In Boardroom Diversity

21st June 2017 Paul Andrews

More boards are reported to have more positions occupied by women but challenges remain.

Family businesses that we come into contact with appear to have a good approach to management of the business with many women holding senior roles and lots of family firms having women leading in the top roles too.  Having said that, diversity remains a key challenge for many businesses and family firms need to continue to take into account trends in the broader market place and to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves to get the right strategic input to their business and board.  HR and diversity consultancy, the Clear Company, welcomed the news that women now hold one fifth of board seats, up 2% from 2015 according to a recent report from Deloitte. It also found that those businesses with top female executives have twice as many female directors as firms which are run by men. 

Kate Headley, Director at HR and diversity consultancy, The Clear Company commented on the report’s findings: “This is very positive news that women are occupying more of the boardroom jobs in business and it allows other women the chance to ‘see it to be it’; that is giving women the role models needed to encourage them to move into the top jobs."

“However, the report also found that only 3.1% of board chairs are women, so there’s still a long way to go before true parity is achieved."

“The inroads that are being made need to reflect a firm’s culture and that is often the easiest way to bring about the change that is required. Success breeds success, and creating the right environment for people to add value, should be the way forward."

“Often it’s about creating the right tone in a working environment. Creating an ‘authentic diversity voice’ will go a long way to both help select and recruit not only the best qualified but also those most in-tune with the firm’s brand. Bringing the values of a brand and matching it to a potential employee’s ‘fit’ regardless of gender, age, or diversity will help to differentiate one employer from another."

“The quota question, as championed by the 30% Club Club and others, still has not gone away. As former City of London Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf said ‘It’s all taking too long. Why not have quotas for a bit?’ While the answer may have changed, the debate still continues. Recent government initiatives, such as the 2016 Hampton-Alexander review to tackle diversity are to be welcomed, with pipeline and contingency planning of those roles below board level nurturing up and coming employees and recruits. "

“Firms need to look at their employee demographics when succession planning and considering their recruitment campaigns. With the growth in evidence clearly showing that a more diverse workforce will reap better business rewards, there is every reason to welcome this increase in women’s roles at the top.”

Family firms are adept at responding to change and the changing needs of their business and in manycases are ahead of their non-family counterparts in addresssing the needs of the board room in order to progress.  In the words of Jim Collins, it is not just about "getting the right people of the bus, but sitting in the right seats to make the strategic difference required."

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