Women In Leadership

The success of women in Dutch education is remarkable. Nowadays they graduate faster and more often than men.

Today, women in their mid thirties have a higher education than men of the same age category. Almost 43% of these women have a High School or Academic degree – about 5% higher than their male peer group (Study ‘Netherlands’).

Also in the labour market women are increasingly more successful. Talented women successfully entered “old-boy-network” roles in i.e. sales and front-line management.

When I was working as a junior salesman at SC Johnson (Johnson Wax) I already realized that female colleagues would make our business more successful. My manager realized this as well. He was a modern guy and established a ‘Lady sales team’ to sell our products to supermarkets. A brilliant move: supermarket owners did hardly free up time for us, salesmen, but they did free up time for our female colleagues. Nowadays you see an increasing number of female account managers in the technical fields as well.

Surprising?

No, not at all! Women, generally, score 13% higher on interpersonal sensitivity than men. This is an asset, especially in positions that rely on interaction with others.

Unfortunately women remain underrepresented in middle and executive management roles.

Men and women score nearly equally in their ability to drive businesses, but fewer women are able to get beyond lower-level leadership positions. According to a Dutch study the number of women in executive roles increased from 19,8% to 21,2% between 2013 and 2015. Globally the numbers are similar, sometimes even worse. The Dutch aim – 30% of women in executive leadership roles – is still a long way to go. Interestingly enough 6 out of 10 employees are dissatisfied with their manager, 41% due to lack of personal attention and care.  Women managers  score higher on soft skills such as understanding (18%), engagement (11%) and active listening skills (13%). This seems like a valid reason for women to step up and for businesses to take advantage of the qualities women have to offer.

I know one thing for sure: a balanced team – with men and woman – is proven to be far more effective and profitable. That is why it is obvious that we need more women in higher-level leadership. So support actively talented women to climb the organizational ladder!

Rob Lammers

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