Hay Group
Hay Group
Area of focus: 
Business Case

This report by a management consultancy firm argues that much of the current thinking on gender diversity has misdiagnosed the problem. An organisation's people are argued to be its primary source of value and profitability; recent research has found that companies with more women within top level leadership have a higher return on investment. 70 percent of purchasing decisions in Europe are made by women, and Hay Group's own research has found that companies with engaged employees enjoy significantly higher revenue growth.

The most common treatments for diversity gaps are discussed, including flexible working, career breaks and women's networks, however these are not seen to be effective in creating change. It is argued that that the under-representation of women in senior management should be framed not as a women's issue, but rather as an indicator that the 20th century's model of work (characterised as hierarchical and relying on coercive management styles) is outmoded and does not address the realities of the 21st century. Employees will not become engaged if they don't agree with or dislike an organisation's business model.

The paper provides 13 brief recommendations for change based on the examples set by high-achieving companies; these include thinking outside rigid role descriptions, rethinking of career path models, and welcoming a greater diversity of thought within companies.