“You want to reflect your customer base and have their voice at the table. Our customers are mainly SMEs, where there are more women in accounting roles, so it makes sense to seek diversity in your management teams.”
Rod Drury, Chief Executive Officer, Xero
Diverse leadership is good for business
Having more women in leadership is associated with better business performance. We need to identify, grow and support future generations of women leaders and encourage women to take the next step in their careers into leadership roles.
The leaking talent pipeline
Leadership talent is in short supply in New Zealand. Yet at every successive management level talented women drop out, or their careers stall. This is the ‘leaking talent pipeline’. The leaking talent pipeline results in reduced potential for diversity, innovation and productivity in New Zealand workplaces.
Barriers to progression
Research has found the biggest barriers to women’s career development and progression to leadership roles are:
- the lack of options for flexible work
- difficulty managing re-entry following a career break
- unconscious bias.
What employers can do
You can create a culture that empowers women to take up opportunities to advance their careers by changing the way leadership is approached in your organisation.
As well as the changes suggested above you can:
- acknowledge the importance of group working and influencing skills
- offer women sponsors and mentors
- give women challenging assignments to increase their chances of making it into senior leadership roles
- monitor the number of men and women at each level of your organisation
- set targets for the number of women in leadership.