Women Matter...Even in Czech Business
You might have noticed that our newsletter has been mentioning a study by McKinsey&Co. titled "Women Matter". We have been referring to it because it shows the correlation between the number of women in management and the financial success of the company in the marketplace. And if you have ever had any doubts about the universal validity of the link between these two factors on the grounds that the quoted information had used data from other countries, this news is for you: For the first time, McKinsey has now carried out a survey of Czech companies.
Here are the results:
According to the McKinsey study in the Czech Republic, there are three reasons why women's potential is under-utilized in Czech business: 1) women's talent remains largely untapped, 2) women help to increase company profits and 3) women make the majority of purchasing decisions.
With a rate of 56% of women's economic participation, the Czech Republic currently places in the last quarter of all the countries ranked. It is followed only by Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece and Italy. The countries with the highest participation rates of women in the job market are Norway (73%),Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada and Finland. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the countries in the top quarter is USD 54,260 while the GDP of the countries which placed in the last quarter of the ranking list amounts to USD 21,620 – about a half of that of the leaders. This contrast led McKinsey to assume that the potential growth of the GDP in the Czech Republic is as high as 3%, provided that the rates of women's participation in the economy rise accordingly.
"Women Matter 2011" collected data from 23 Czech companies in eight different fields. 16 of these companies are among the 35 biggest businesses in the country and seven of them are the leaders in their respective fields. Analysis showed that the representation of women in Czech business is low and the situation is not improving over time. Only 17% of General Managers of the surveyed companies were women. Women also make up 17% of the Directors reporting directly to General Managers. Only 4% of board members in the Czech Republic are women. Moreover, this only concerns a few select companies.
The McKinsey study also showed that General Managers feel obliged to promote equal opportunities in their workplaces and take specific steps to do so. At the middle management level, however, the situation is dramatically different. Middle managers lack both the conviction and the willingness to support the women in their teams. In several of the companies surveyed as a part of the study, the company culture is particularly unfriendly to women.
The study also analyzed the gender dimensions of the 'health' and performance of each business. It looked at the company culture, the commitment of the management to equal opportunities, development programmes, infrastructure, or HR policies. Czech companies were the most successful in respect to the last factor - HR policies. 43% of Czech companies gave thorough attention to HR policies (in comparison to the European average of 46%). Czech businesses also scored in terms of a gender-sensitive company culture and a commitment to equal opportunities (37% Czech vs. 47% European). On the other hand, the greatest opportunities for improvement were found in the areas of quality control, evaluation and decisions at the top management level which concern promoting women, infrastructure (7%) and development programmes such as coaching and mentoring schemes (12%). Flexible employment options and personalized career development plans for women also have a lot of potential.
According to McKinsey, women are more than employees - they take on the role of customers as well. "Women Matter 2011" showed that in the Czech Republic, women spend CZK 9 billion more than men per week and make 63% of all purchasing decisions (in the USA this proportion is even higher - 85%).
Source: McKinsey & Company 2011, "Unlocking the Full Potential of Women in Czech Business" flyer.