Having a diverse team in senior management positions can bring a range of benefits to a company. This topic starts to become more and more current when the new directive* from EU on gender quotas for company boards is only a few years away from now.
Probably it is fair to state that there is no reason why men or women should hold a majority of board positions in a listed corporation. However, having a diverse mix of perspectives on a board or management team can be beneficial for several reasons. For example, research has shown that diverse teams tend to make better decisions and are more innovative. In addition, having a diverse board can help a company better understand and relate to its diverse customer base. Enento for instance has nearly 70.000 corporate customers and about half a million consumer customers. A diverse board can also help improve the company’s reputation and public image. Ultimately, the composition of a company’s board or management team should be determined based on the qualifications and expertise of the individual members, regardless of their gender.
The board of Enento is very much counting on the expertise and experience of both men and women; we currently have two women and four men in our board and now the proposal for the 2023 annual general meeting is to have 3 men and 3 women representing our shareholders in the board. This of course takes Enento already “compliant” with the future legislation. Still, the main thing is that we have the most competent board possible, no matter the gender split.
In addition, our management team has a range of diverse backgrounds and competences, which is a major advantage to our company. On average, the share of women in the management teams of listed companies in Finland is 28% according to a recent study by Chamber of Commerce. At Enento, the share is 55% meaning we have more women than men in our executive team. Our CEO Jeanette Jäger is driving the company forward with CFO Elina Stråhlman supporting on the side. Siri Hane is leading our biggest business area Business Insight, and with Gabriella Göransson heading the Consumer Insight they are the main business owners responsible for more than 90% of our annual net sales. Also, our marketing and communications and HR units are in the capable hands of Victoria Preger and Eleonor Öhlander. Sounds like a group of future board members qualified to be invited to join for various company boards in the Nordics. Did you know that our CEO Jeanette Jäger is a member of the board at the Swedish telecom giant Telia?
Gender quotas may not be the only solution to achieve gender diversity in leadership, but it might help addressing imbalances and promote change. It is important for companies to consider a range of strategies for increasing the representation of women in leadership, such as recruiting and promoting more women or offering flexible work arrangements and support for work-life balance. Companies need to create a culture that values and supports diversity. By taking a proactive approach to diversity and inclusion, companies can create more effective leadership teams.
Diverse leadership drives better performance
Finally, research has shown that companies with more diverse leadership teams tend to perform better financially. For example, a study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. That is not such a bad thing either.
Have a great start for 2023!
*According to the directive, member states must ensure that in listed companies with more than 250 employees, at least 40 percent of the board members are of the underrepresented sex, i.e., women. In Finland, the directive will apply to boards and supervisory boards, as the management team is not an institution according to the Finnish Limited Liability Companies Act. The directive will enter into force in December 2024, after which there will be a transition period until June 2026.