Women have come a long way since entering the world of work all those decades ago, and businesses who don’t recognise and take advantage of the advantages that women bring to the table are missing out. Studies have previously shown that those large corporations which have a higher proportion of female board members financially outperform those with a male-dominated board. This can be seen at lower levels as well, with teams composed of a diverse-gender mix reporting higher sales and overall profits than their mostly-male counterparts.
Financial success, however, is certainly not the beginning and end of the benefits to be found when you include women in your workforce. The Centre for Creative Leadership has conducted research that actually shows that the percentage of female representation in a company has an impact on how pleasant it is to be employed within that organisation. Hundreds of people from different businesses were included in a survey which looked at the number of women in their workplace, and the effect this has on various aspects of working life.
This study has helped to highlight the fact that companies with a higher percentage of women in the ranks tend to see employees enjoying more job satisfaction, increased organisational dedication, more meaningful work and overall less burnout in the course of working. It also spells good news in terms of employee engagement and retention. When asked during the survey why they remain employed in their current position, respondents who worked in a business with a high ratio of females to males typically gave answers relating to a positive working culture that has been fostered, for example enjoyable work, the ability to fit their job into their routines and not have any conflict in other areas of life, and the chance to make a difference. These results were found to be consistent regardless of the leadership level, company size, industry, role, ethnicity or age of the participant; women being a large part of the workforce was linked with positive outcomes. This is true for both men and women, and in fact these findings were even more prevalent amongst men for some indicators, specifically speaking job satisfaction and enjoyment, and decreased burnout.
In addition to this, Paymentsense has also carried out research which suggests that female entrepreneurs manage their stress levels and work-life better than their male counterparts. In this study, over 1000 UK small businesses were surveyed, and it is clear from the results that women seem better-equipped to handle the rigours of running a business without allowing the stresses involved to derail their work or ruin their home life.
Of course, nobody is immune to stress; we all encounter different issues each day, and how we respond to these trials often has a lot to do with what else is going on at the time as well as many other factors. However, nearly half of the male respondents reported a lack of clear thinking at least five times per day as a result of the daily stress at work; compared with the females who were surveyed of which only 17% confirmed this disruption to their own days. This is less than half the amount of men who stated issues in this area. 65% of female leaders did state that when confronted by a stressful event, they find themselves struggling to focus for a period afterwards, but this was eclipsed by the 75% of male participants who reported this occurrence.
A similar trend was noted on other results from the survey; for example, only 7% of the males involved in the study answered that stress doesn’t cause them problems thinking clearly, whilst 11% of the women were able to say the same thing.
It is clear from this research that promoting equality and gender diversity in your small business is a winning move, in terms of both employee satisfaction and profits.
If your small business employs women, you might be interested in learning more about gender pay gap reporting; this may only be compulsory for companies with staff numbers higher than 250, however if and when it’s a requirement for smaller businesses, you’ll be ahead of the game if you’ve done your research and started your own reporting. The experts here at Neil Smith Accountancy are always on hand with business advice; if you’re thinking of starting a small business in Essex or already running one, why not get in touch and see what we can do for you?