Five years ago I was invited by a large Investment Bank to a recruiters forum to debate gender diversity. Specifically the issue being addressed was why there weren’t enough female managers in Investment Banking. How are we going to attract them? Where are we going to get them from? How will we retain them?
It was a frank, open, grown up, honest debate. A lot of good ideas and initiatives were suggested from those 50 or 60 recruiters and HR PRofessionals in the room. I don’t know how many of them were implemented, but five years on and the debate still rages.
So why doesn’t 50% of the population of the planet occupy 50% of the top jobs?
The numbers speak for themselves. 190 heads of state, 9 are women. Women occupy only 13% of all the Parliamentary seats available on the planet. 84% of top jobs in the corporate world are occupied by men. In the not for profit sector, a sector often assumed to be occupied by more women, men still assume 80% of the leadership roles.
From an employers perspective, we are limiting the pool of talent from which we select for leadership roles to only half that available. Why does this happen? Particularly when all the research evidences the more diverse an organisation, the more long-term sustainable success it is likely to enjoy.
Rather than give you the perspective of a 38-year-old Anglo-Saxon male, I thought it would prove more insightful to get the perspective of someone who really knows from personal experience the journey that women must take in order to achieve leadership responsibility.
Sheryl Sandberg is the mother of a five and two-year old. She is Chief Operating Officer at Facebook. A Harvard MBA, her CV also includes Chief of Staff to the US Treasury and Vice President of Online Sales at Google. She also helped establish the philanthropic Google.org
If you have 14 minutes 58 seconds to spare I implore you to watch this. There is much here from which we can all learn. If you don’t have time, I would love to know your views. Let me have your comments. Why do we have too few women leaders?