More and more businesses are beginning to realize that greater gender balance at the managerial and executive levels is good for business. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that from a survey of 366 companies, those companies that had a greater balance of leadership roles between men and women were more likely to report financial returns that were higher than their national industry median.
McKinsey attributes this to companies with more balanced leadership being able to do a better job at recruiting and retaining talented workers. This reduces the costs associated with replacing top executives which can cut into profits and time. Companies with more balanced leadership also benefit from having better relationships with their customers, as management reflects how diverse society is. Along with that, having a varied and diverse set of viewpoints available allows businesses to make better decisions overall.
Although it has been a long road for companies seeking to promote more diversity among their leadership, more companies are jumping at the chance to find out what programs or methods work best to not only hire more female employees but to retain them as well. What many businesses lack has been a pipeline of talented female employees at the ready for when the company needs to fill the top roles. However, due to various outside and social factors that has been harder to achieve than hiring quotas make it seem. For example, companies may lose a lot of talented female employees up the promotion ladder due to obligations with family or children.
However, the incentive for companies to find a solution is certainly there. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, believes that it is important to hire people who “compliment you, because you want to build a puzzle…You don’t want to stack Chiclets up and have everyone be the same.”
Perhaps not so coincidentally, in 2015 Apple posted the highest quarterly profit ($18 billion) in the history of quarterly profits. Diversity does seem profitable for businesses.