Businesswoman

Gender diversity in the boardroom dismissed by a third of top executives

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 12:10 GMT Jump to Comments

Just under three quarters of senior executives believe gender diversity in the boardroom is a positive thing, but nearly a third doubt its value altogether.

New research by recruitment specialist, Executives Online has shown that 71 per cent of top executives believe that more women in senior exeutive roles can be achieved without quotas, whereas less than 21 per cent believe that quotas should be introduced.

James O’Brien, managing director of Executives Online, said: “These figures show that there are clearly still a significant number of senior executives who don’t support the theory that gender diversity in the boardroom is good for business.

“This comes at a time when gender diversity is a hotly debated issue and the number of females in top executive roles is still low, having dropped from 6.7 percent to 5.8 percent internationally”.

The research looked at the perceived advantages and disadvantages of boardroom gender diversity.  Over a third of all respondents believe that a major benefit of gender diversity in the boardroom is broader visionary thinking (35 percent).

Nearly a fifth (18 percent) think that diversity could deliver better governance, whilst other benefits cited are more innovation (17 percent) and better risk management (14 percent).

However, nearly a third of those polled believe there are potential downsides to gender diversity in the boardroom, including conflict (11 percent), indecision (nine percent), blockages (eight percent), and lack of direction (seven percent).

O’Brien added: “Examining the detailed explanations given by respondents, it’s interesting to note that the majority of those opposed to quotas express concerns that important positions may be awarded to women despite there being better qualified male candidates.

“They believe that candidates should always be appointed on merit alone. Others express concern that women may feel undermined due to inferences that they were awarded their position not on merit, but rather to fulfill a quota”.

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