Glass Ceilings in Executive Search

Glass ceilingIt’s an issue that’s often discussed, reported on and blogged about and equal gender representation is an area where Watermark Search International takes its responsibilities very seriously.

In 2014, 44% of all Watermark’s successful
executive and board candidates were female.

Much of the more comprehensively researched work on the impact of gender and/or minority status on career advancement has taken place in the United States (Cotter et al) but it is also an issue that has received a fair amount of attention in Australia. Whether it be the Business Council of Australia’s report, prepared by Meredith Hellicar, on “Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Executive Positions” or the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ tracking of Board Gender diversity on a real time basis the numbers tell a story of under representation of women in both Senior Executive and Company Director roles. Australia’s population split is, as near as makes no difference, 50:50, however in executive roles the BCA report found that only 10.1% of key executives in the ASX 200 were female and, according to the AICD, the current representation on the ASX 200 boards is sitting at 19.3%…room for improvement.

There are a number of points in the BCA report about the use of recruitment and search firms and how they conduct their business with regard to gender diversity. Some points relate to the firms themselves and how they go about their search or recruiting process and some relate to the role of the clients in briefing those firms and any subsequent process. The report suggests that one of the metrics that any client asks of its search or recruiting firm is the percentage of female appointments by their clients. A firm can provide the client a gender balanced shortlist and a firm can train their consultants in eliminating bias. A firm can also have a comprehensive gender diversity policy itself and good diversity within its own employees but at the end of the day the gender balance of candidates appointed by clients, assuming that any shortlists are of mixed gender, is probably the measure that really counts.

At Watermark Search International we are proud of our record providing clients high quality male and female executive and board member candidates from which to make their choices.

The numbers speak for themselves:

In 2014, 44% of all Watermark’s successful executive and board candidates were female.

We recognise that this is not a 50:50 split but do believe it demonstrates that neither candidates nor clients experience the artificial limits of any form of ceiling when Watermark is working with them. As a candidate it’s good to know that there is no bias for or against you…it’s a level playing field. As a client it’s critical to know you are seeing the highest potential people, regardless of gender, to meet your requirements.

If you are not working with Watermark how’s your search provider doing on gender diversity?