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Want to Boost Shareholder Returns? Hire a Woman


Jenny Cosgrave


2 July 2013


CNBC has published coverage of PA Consulting Group’s survey into the gender make-up of executive boards in 50 North American and UK companies. PA’s survey found that companies with women on their board boasted higher total shareholder returns (TSR) over a six-year period.

The CNBC article quotes extensively from the PA report, which says: “These 50 organisations demonstrate that the presence of women in senior positions only serves to increase the organization's culture and performance… it is absolutely in companies' best interests to raise their game when it comes to promoting gender diversity.”

The article continues with a caution to businesses, also taken from the PA report: “It is very tempting to think that the quickest solution to the challenge of raising the percentage of senior female leaders is to 'buy' the talent from outside. Although this might seem like an immediate solution to the problem, our research shows that those organizations with a higher percentage of internal appointments within their executive committee demonstrate a much higher total shareholder return. So the injection of external female talent may solve the short-term problem, but may not drive sustained performance over time.”

The article closes with a quote from Lesley Uren, PA talent management expert, who says: “Despite decades of well-meaning interventions, and in the face of incredible pressure from society, many companies have had limited success in accelerating women up the management ladder.”

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