Archive for category Diversity

Sweden: Female CEOs run companies with lower profit margins

Företagarna’s CEO Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist

“Companies headed by a female CEO have a lower profit margin on average than companies headed by a male CEO, according to a report by the national small business association Företagarna. The business association Företagarna has reviewed 125,000 Swedish business and found that companies with a female CEO had a profit margin of 7 percent on average, whereas the same number for male CEOs was 8.4 percent.” (Radio Sweden)

As surprising as this result might be for some, so predictable is some of the rationale: “The difference may also reflect how different men and women are treated in business negotations.”

I am curious if and how this will be discussed within the HR community.

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Some thoughts about Gen Y

I just read a few articles that are related to Gen Y, and… they made me think (happens from time to time).

First Forbes.com has two success-stories of comparably young women who moved quickly into senior positions. 21-year-old Star Hughes became a business executive (ok, just real estate :-P) and Christine Park became a senior designer at Cadillac by the age of 28.

Even though these are great and inspiring examples of what could be achieved by representatives of certain groups (here women and GenY) I would technically challenge the relevance of their ‘lessons learned’. For two reasons it is just statistically invalid to take one single person’s career and extrapolate common rules or advices for everyone. This might also be one of the reasons why there seems to be the need for so many “success biographies” out there. I prefer statistically hard-wired models such as the works of Jim Collins. Second, in case of the 21 year-old Star Hughes it is also intrapersonal very dare to already derive a pattern of success as the time span and repetition of successful behaviors is just too small.

But these are just general scientific observations. Coming back to Gen Y (and beyond), based on these examples and the expectations they might raise:

  1. What will be their career look like in 15 years?
  2. Despite their single careers, will there be enough senior positions for all the remaining Gen X-ers, the Gen Y and the upcoming Gen Re (or whatever you like to call them)?
  3. If not (which is likely), will they really be satisfied with “blended lifestyles” and moving into lower paid, lower status jobs? Not everyone can open a coffee shop and lower paid jobs are usually less fun but not necessarily less stress.

There is a lot of research out there that tells us that the way we (they) work will change dramatically. I just wonder if there is also a lot of unrealistic and not- selffulfilling prophecy raised by pushing this too much (also with these kinds of role-models).

Also, there is a list of ten prejudices (?) about Gen Y by Randall S. Hansen from Quintessential Careers. The list includes arguments, why there might be some truth in these perceptions or not and what the reasons for one or the other might be. I like the list and it is quite congruent to all the research done out there. Maybe you first think a while about these perceptions before you follow the link below:

  1. Spoiled/Entitled
  2. Lazy
  3. Poor Work Ethic
  4. Little Respect for Authority
  5. Too Self-Centered and Individualistic
  6. Overinflated/Unrealistic Expectations
  7. Not Committed to Work
  8. No Loyalty to Employers
  9. Lacking in Social Skills
  10. Needy

Enjoy :-): Perception vs. Reality: 10 Truths About The Gen Y Workforce

Update: Yesterday I gave a presentation in front of HR professionals about demographical change etc. One of the participants shared the observation that some of the GenY-ers (and beyond) show “typical” traits with regards to career, blended lifestyles, etc. But they seem to feel pressured (by peers, parents or just by knowing what is expected from their generation) towards behaving this way, which causes significant stress. I haven’t been aware of that, but it perfectly links to this post – and examples like the two above might also contribute to this external pressure. 

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Why Your Next Board Member Should Be A Woman – TechCrunch

TechCrunch published another post dealing with executive level gender diversity.

I think anyone who ever dealt with this topic knows the business case and arguments. And you will find them here again, maybe with some fresher figures and examples.

Nonetheless, while reading this post there were two heretic thoughts coming to my mind, which I would leave here for discussion:

  1. “Why should we care? For one, women are the power users of many products and it’s just smart business to have an understanding of key customers around the table.” No argument from my site. But, e.g., it is also true for most companies that their customers earn the average wage paid in the respective markets. Would that also mean that executive level salaries should be cut down to foster understanding their customer base better?
  2. “If you’re not aware, studies also show companies with gender diversity at the top drive better financial performance on multiple measures …” True, but do these studies offer a measure of co-relation or of causality?

For the German readers: you will find a debatable point of view on legal gender quotas at susensation

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Good advice for GenY-ers and beyond…

I like this article by Kimberly Fusaro, because it’s not like 90% of articles about what corporations have to consider when interacting with “digital natives”, but what those should keep in mind when they enter the job market and have to deal with “old guys”.

Saying this, it’s a good excercise because most of these advises seem to be common sense for GenX and Baby Boomers who are on the other side of the desk – and “we” shouldn’t expect “our” standards common for the younger generation.

  1. Background checks have gone beyond Google.
  2. Arriving super-early for an interview is almost as bad as arriving late.
  3. Your physical appearance matters.
  4. Personal hygiene counts, too.
  5. You won’t get hired to work from home if you aren’t a “home professional.”
  6. Being overweight can work against you.
  7. Ageism (illegally) exists.
  8. Your relationship is being monitored if you’re dating a coworker.
  9. Your Internet usage is probably being documented.
  10. Your good and bad behavior matter-but the bad matters more.

Some points might be provocative, but it’s about reality and not about what we would like the world to be. Everyone fosters diversity and inclusion and there are legal guidelines and limitations in place. But nevertheless it’s statistically proven that there still are certain “biases” (positive or negative) in your career if you don’t comply to certain rules of the game (e.g. being physically fit) or stand out of the crowd (e.g. just by height or looks).

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Diversity – gut gemeint ist das Gegenteil von gut gemacht…

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bcg.perspectives – Taking Action on Aging

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