Company boards with more diversity perform better, finds report

Company boards with more diversity perform better, finds report

Having at least one female executive board member means that a company's board outperforms rivals that are made up exclusively of males, according to a new report.

Women in business: the value of diversity, a report from Grant Thornton International, covers listed companies in the UK, US and India and found that diversity on executive boards could have been worth £430bn in 2014.

Board diversity

The report analysed whether diverse executive teams outperformed male-only boards.

Global head of tax services at Grant Thornton, Francesca Lagerberg, said: "I liken the debate around board diversity to that of renewable energy. We know it's the right thing to do - both in terms of fairness and for sustainable future growth - but collectively society is dragging its heels. The response to both issues seems to be 'yes, we need to take action, but it will be expensive to implement in the short-term,' so we kick the can down the road."

Clear message

"But the message from our research is clear: there is a large opportunity cost for companies associated with male-only executive boards. Those businesses stuck in the past are not fully unlocking their growth potential. Like a world still addicted to fossil fuels, these companies are suffering now. A lack of action now will make it all the more difficult to respond in the future when both problems are likely to be more acute," Lagerberg explained.

CEO of Grant Thornton UK, Sacha Romanovitch, commented: "The research clearly shows what we have been talking about for a while: that diversity leads to better decision-making. While an important element, this goes beyond solely the issue of gender. If we consider diversity in the round, including areas of socio-demographic and racial diversity, amongst others, the opportunity to develop a wider perspective on the world is huge. In a business context, this diversity of thoughts and experiences leads to more innovative and unique solutions." 

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