It’s still a man’s world in the FTSE 100
Is it a man’s world? Absolutely, especially in the business world. Women hold only 9.7% of executive positions in FTSE 100, that is, in 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation. The lack of diversity in executive positions leads to ‘Groupthink’. This unthreatening word has a lot of negative consequences.
Groupthink refers to the tendency of groups who have been working together for some time to make poor decisions because of the lack of different opinions. Different opinions are only present if we have diverse teams, including diversity in gender. Groupthink can lead to a breadth of negative consequences, including poor information search, incomplete survey of alternative decisions, failure to examine risk, or a selective bias. If your team is not diverse, you are probably making decisions that are harmful to your business.
If you have a team that lacks diversity, you may put that down to coincidence. You and most people in the UK support gender equality. However, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman proved in their classic paper that we all have unconscious biases that impact our opinions and decisions. This can blind us from the truth. For example, in the gender sphere, there is a gender pay gap across the UK (as was revealed in UK’s beloved BBC…), yet 86% of men think there is gender pay equality.
Removing unconscious bias is tricky, and sometimes impossible. It is important however to be aware of it and take active measures to reduce its influence. Sky, the British broadcasting company, has been a role model in improving gender diversity. Currently, 40% of their executive positions are held by women. They have been attempting to remove their biases by implanting a culture of diversity in their workforce. For example, Sky’s recruitment team specifically target female jobseekers through social media. Moreover, they are requested to have a gender equal shortlist during the selection process.
If you are interested in finding out whether you have a bias, please visit Harvard’s test to find out.
Author: Xavier Lewis Rodriguez / Bridging to the Future