Study finds little diversity in global management ranks

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by Vanessa Bostwick on June 8, 2011

Diverse management is lacking in most of the major European organizations, according to a study released today by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

BCG found that out of 40 randomly selected global companies, 93 percent of the executive directors were male; 86 percent were native Europeans; and 49 percent were between the ages of 51 and 60 years old.

“Diversity must be seen as a strategic response to major business trends such as globalization, demographic shifts, and the talent shortage,” explained Dr. Rainer Strack, senior partner at BCG, HR expert, and an author of the report.

The top-tier workers at these companies are not an adequate reflection of the diverse makeup of clientele. BCG reports that the purchasing power of women is steadily increasing; the companies generate, on average, approximately 40 percent of their revenues outside of Europe; and their customers are growing older.

In the just-released Focus report “Hard-Wiring Diversity into Your Business,” BCG and EAPM analyzed how 444 executives responded to survey questions about the challenges in diversity management.

Business risk caused by demographic change (aging) was cited as the greatest diversity challenge by 48 percent of the survey respondents. Rounding out the top three challenges were gender (29 percent) and nationality (18 percent).

Change could be on the horizon. 80 percent of respondents said that their company had implemented at least three measures to enhance employee diversity.

“Our research has shown that the business case for diversity is clear and that HR needs to integrate such measures into its broader people policies. A modern workplace must represent its customer base in order to be truly effective and to deliver products and services that drive it to the competitive edge in a global environment,” explained Stephanie Bird, an author of the report and the director of HR capability for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).