Yorkshire firms with women on the board beating rivals

YORKSHIRE FIRMS with female '‹'‹executive'‹s'‹ on their boards are outperforming those with all'‹ '‹male boards, according to exclusive new research.

Victoria Woodings, head of UK operations at Principle Group, Huddersfield. 14 April 2106. Picture Bruce Rollinson

A BDO study showed that gender diversity in the boardroom make-up provides significant value to Yorkshire’s leading businesses.

According to the research, Yorkshire’s top 50 companies (excluding Morrisons and Asda as they were seen to be so much bigger than their rivals that they skewed the results), boards with executive female representation saw a 12 per cent increase in sales, compared with a 7 per cent increase for all male boards.

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Pre-tax profits among Yorkshire’s top 50 leading firms (excluding Asda & Morrisons) rose 18 per cent for boards with female executives, but they fell 30 per cent for those without an executive female director.

Jason Whitworth, M&A partner at BDO Yorkshire, said: “Although it is impossible to determine if the presence of female executive directors are the deriving factors for company growth and profits, our analysis does highlight that women in senior positions of power and influence can add significant value to an organisation.

“Female representation in the boardroom as a proportion has stagnated rather than increased, and female executive directors remain at a low percentage in only 18 per cent of the top Yorkshire companies.

“It is a continuing theme that more needs to be done to raise the profile of women in the boardroom, recognising the diversity and value that can bring.”

Victoria Woodings, a board director at Huddersfield-based brand implementation specialist Principle Group,​ said that having a female sat around the boardroom changes the dynamic.

​“It’s very different to an all male board. It’s more considered. If there is an issue, women really want to understand how it will benefit the firm. They want to know it’s a really solid decision,” she said.

“I’m all for a mixed dynamic. Men can be more entrepreneurial and willing to take risks.

“To have a mix of men and women is the best set up.”

​​Th​e research found that the next 200 largest Yorkshire ​firms ​(the mid-market ​tier) with a female executive​ ​director recorded a sales increase of 11 per cent against ​a ​5 per cent ​rise ​for mid-market​ ​companies without an executive female director.

The analysis was carried out by accountancy and advisory firm B​D​O LLP as part of its Yorkshire​ ​Report 2016.

The analysis looked at the financial performance of Yorkshire’s biggest 48 companies, ​minus the two supermarket giants, and the next 200 largest companies.

BDO decided to research the performance after this year’s Yorkshire Report​ ​revealed that the rise of the female board director appeared to have hit a glass ceiling in the​ ​region.

​The research showed that the proportion of women on the boards of Yorkshire’s top 250 companies ​had ​stagnated at 17 per cent, the same level as last year. The issue has become politicised, with the Government reviewing gender balance at the top of British business.

Page 3 B​lackfriar​: What do women bring to the boardroom?