Within the overall business sector, there has long been talk of increasing diversity within senior roles and at boardroom level. Prime among this has been the pressing need to redress the gender balance that has traditionally seen women on the outside looking in. In recent years, the penny seems to have finally dropped with many businesses, which have finally started to put into action efforts to help encourage more women into senior roles.
When you look at the statistics, it makes sense not only in terms of equality but also in terms of getting the best people in the right jobs. In the US alone, it is reported that women gain more college and graduate degrees than men while making up nearly 50% of the workforce. When you mapped that over to the number of working women who operated at senior levels in the past though, this did not always equate.
Has this changed over the last few years? Happily, the answer would seem to be “Yes”. As the working patterns and environments of many companies begin to change, so does the opportunity to move into senior roles for women. A study from the University of Illinois found that women now hold about 40% of the managerial roles in US companies, for example, while in the UK, women’s representation on the board of FTSE 100 companies rose from 11% to 28%.
Does this mean that the battle for more women in senior managerial, boardroom and CEO roles is over though? While there have been great strides made towards giving women more opportunities here, the answer would be “No”. However, there is no doubt that we are certainly seeing more women taking on greater roles within global business.
Once, twice, three times a lady
When it comes to women taking on more responsibility and more important jobs in business, one person shows just what can be done. Lady Barbara Judge was the first woman to serve in high-profile leadership roles across the globe. Her combination of talent, compassion and business-savvy enabled her to set the standard for what women could achieve within business. Even better, she did this by creating her own opportunities and used her own initiative to break down the boardroom door at a time when things were far behind today’s understanding.
Women getting more opportunities is a win-win
While there is still much to be done, there has certainly been progress over the years around women getting more senior opportunities within business. The great thing is that it not only makes things fairer around gender but also allows women to bring their unique skill set to the very top of important institutions.
Women in senior roles can offer a lot of valuable yet different skills that make them stand out. Here are a few that are most useful:
- Superb problem solvers – one thing that makes women ideal for the strategic decision-making involved with senior roles is their superior problem-solving abilities. Women will usually take a more considered approach to decision-making and take their time to find the best solution to a problem. Their penchant for actually talking to people over issues and canvassing different opinions helps them to solve problems in a very effective, reasoned way.
- Great at finding new business opportunities – one quality that women CEOs or senior managers possess is an ability to seek out new business opportunities. Most will have a very strong sense of initiative that they will use to find new ways for a business to grow. It would seem that women are more able than men to widen their perspective and use innovation to help a business grow.
- Amazing communication skills – communication is key in modern business, whether it is with internal staff or customers. Women CEOs and managers usually possess effective communication skills, so they can tell people what needs to be heard. Women also have great empathy and listening skills, so they ensure that it is done in the right way. If anyone is unhappy, they are much better at using their compassion and listening skills to resolve the issue.
- Networking and collaboration are key – it is thought that women in general have a more social brain, which makes them naturals at working with others. This enables them to forge vital strategic partnerships with other companies in the same sector to drive growth. It is also thought that women are better at working with others to get the overall result needed and fare better when collaboration is required.
Women continue to make their presence felt
As we move forward into the future, it seems certain that women will continue to take more and more senior roles within business. This should hopefully address the gender imbalance in this area while also enabling women to use their unique skills to make any business grow. As inspirational women continue to come forward to lead the way for others, the pace of progress may be more rapid than ever in the coming years.