Research Shows That Smart Women = Stronger Companies

One of your company's most powerful competitive weapons may at this very moment be cleaning out her desk — or contemplating doing so. Can you afford to let her go?

In researching my forthcoming book, Top Talent: Keeping Performance Up When Business Is Down, we found that in the wake of last year's financial crash, high-powered women were more than twice as likely as men — 84 percent compared with 40 percent — to be seriously thinking jumping ship. And when the head and heart are out the door, the rest of the body is sure to follow.

Women are falling victim to two types of attrition: they're being disproportionately let go and they're disproportionately quitting. Yet whether they're jumping or being pushed, figures show that a female exodus is bad for business.

Research conducted by both Catalyst and McKinsey & Company demonstrates that companies with significant numbers of women in management have a much higher return on investment.

In addition, a recent study from London Business School shows that when work teams are split 50-50 between men and women, productivity goes up. Gender balance, the research posits, counters groupthink — the tendency of homogenous groups to staunchly defend wrong-headed ideas because everyone in the group thinks the same way.

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By Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Harvard Business Review

Thanks to Glenna Cross
Crosswise Communications
Calgary, Canada