Women in business

The value of diversity

Carsten Mønster Carsten Mønster

Ground-breaking research reveals strong link between diversity in decision-making and business growth prospects

Companies with diverse executive boards outperform peers run by all-male boards according to a new study which covers listed companies in India, the UK and US. Our research estimates the opportunity cost for companies with male-only executive boards (in terms of lower returns on assets) at a staggering US$655 billion in 2014.

Women in business: the value of diversity scrutinises the financial performance of companies listed on the S&P 500, CNX 200 and FTSE 350. Some progress has been made by women at a non-executive level, but our report focuses on whether diverse executive teams - the people involved in day-to-day business operations - outperform male-only peers.

Analysis of the return on assets ratio (also known as return on investment) showed that, on average, companies with at least one female executive board member outperformed those with male-only boards in each of the three markets analysed.

In the US, S&P 500 companies with diverse boards outperformed rivals by 1.91%. In the UK FTSE 350 the gap was 0.53% and for the Indian CNX 200, 0.85%. This translates into an opportunity cost of US$567bn, US$74bn and US$14bn in each of the three markets respectively - or around 3% of GDP in the UK and US.

More information

Read full report The value of diversity pdf cover
Download PDF [ 1754 kb ]