Successful Business Women Empower Successful Businesses
Diversity drives business results. On International Women’s Day, that simple but powerful message should be championed widely. The fundamental business reality is that successful business women empower successful businesses.
Don’t just take our word for it. The evidence is clear and widespread.
A 2016 study by Credit Suisse revealed that businesses with boards in which 25% of senior management were female were 50% more profitable than those where fewer than 10% of senior managers were female. This analysis is backed by similar studies from global consultancies such as Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey amongst others.
The nuances of such findings are complex, but the fundamental truth is companies with a positive culture that actively promote diversity are shown to deliver better business outcomes.
Success is shared in the modern business world
Success is not always a case of blunt competition in the modern business landscape. Engendering a collaborative and innovative culture that rewards success and empowers diverse viewpoints is a path to improved competitiveness, enhanced innovation, and better profitability.
This is a critical part of Sunway University Online’s Master of Business Administration, with the The People and Organisations module focused on building the value of people skills and collaboration. It will help you understand the complexities of human organisational behaviour, looking at interactions between teams and individuals, and promoting collaboration and the importance of championing diverse voices to inform your business strategies.
As more companies focus on diversity, the importance of diverse leadership has become even more important. Analysis by McKinsey shows that in 2019, companies in the top quartile of gender diversity on their executive teams were 25% more likely to demonstrate above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. That figure is up four percentage points from a similar study in 2017, and 10 percentage points higher than 2014 when it sat at just 15%.
The direction of travel is clear—providing a culturally diverse business environment that promotes diverse talent is increasingly a measure of success. That means we all have to work harder to champion and develop female leaders, not just because it’s the right thing to do for an equitable society, but also because it can help businesses in Malaysia become increasingly competitive in a globally connected landscape.
Championing women in Southeast Asia
Women made up 37% of senior leaders in Malaysia as of 2021 according to the latest statistics from Grant Thornton’s Women in Business report, up from 31% the previous year. That shows encouraging signs of growth.
The positioning within C-suite roles highlights the importance of further action however. While women make up 41% of Chief Finance Officers and 36% of Chief Marketing Officers, they represent just 10% of Chief Executive Officers—down five percentage points on the previous year. Supporting the right education, encouraging and championing success stories, and providing a positive environment is key to growing this potential.
Sunway University’s Online MBA provides a 100% online business education with flexible study that’s particularly valuable for women and other traditional caregivers. Accessing education is often a major barrier to career advancement, as expectations of women holding multiple responsibilities as well as jobs remain a challenge to access.
Our online approach allows students to study anytime, anywhere, avoiding the challenges of having to schedule time to attend in-person physical lessons, and instead providing learning through an intuitive online platform that allows students to enjoy a better work-education balance.
Championing diversity in workforces can unleash significant value in markets of Southeast Asia according to a seminal study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In The Diversity Dividend in Southeast Asia, BCG revealed a potential USD25-30bil annual cost to companies from failing to engage with diversity and inclusion initiatives (D&I). Just 58% of companies had some form of initiative in place—far less than the global average of 96%—and half of respondents believed that obstacles remained for underrepresented groups in business such as women.
These initiatives matter for several key reasons. First, they offer a path to champion and promote women in business, offering support to overcome many traditional barriers. But, importantly for business, they also reveal that sign of diverse cultures that can lead to business success.
90% of underrepresented groups surveyed said they would consider leaving a job for a more inclusive organisation, with a potential retraining and replacement cost of USD25-30 bil. That’s roughly equivalent to the total education budget of Indonesia and Malaysia!
BCG’s study adds to the weight of evidence highlighted in previous studies. Companies with above-average diversity in their leadership reported 19% more innovation and 9% higher earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins than less diverse peers.
In a business landscape framed by growing digitalisation and the Industry 4.0 transformation, that innovation boost is particularly valuable. BCG’s study shows diverse firms enjoyed 14% higher share of revenue from new products compared to less diverse peers. Unlocking the value of diversity is increasingly a path to unlocking the value of innovation.
Our 100% online MBA is designed to prepare leaders for the future of digital disruption, and enable them to unlock new opportunities in a changing work landscape. It’s clear that championing a diverse team with balanced gender representation can be a powerful step on that journey.
The more we support business women with flexible education to uplift their own opportunities, the more we build a landscape where everyone can succeed.