Have you convinced your boss yet? Groups get the best deals 🎟️ Buy now before price increase →

This article was published on July 18, 2023

Gender quotas in the boardroom are good for everyone — here’s why

Norway takes the lead


Gender quotas in the boardroom are good for everyone — here’s why

After decades of admirable, if slow, progress toward gender balance in its boardrooms, Norway has taken a giant leap. Last month, the pioneering Nordic state mandated that 40% of seats on the boards of all large and medium-sized companies should go to women within five years.

This makes Norway the first country in the world to take such a monumental measure and it means that by next year, 8,000 companies should have hit the target quota, expanding to around 20,000 firms with more than 30 staff by 2028.

It’s a step that goes even further than anything the EU—of which Norway is not a member—has initiated. In late 2022, the European Parliament showed its commitment to corporate gender equality when it finally passed a law requiring companies to ensure that 40% of their non-executive directors, and a third of all of its directors, be women.

Norway had already instigated a similar move as early as 2005.

Norway’s trailblazing efforts to break the glass ceiling have contributed to its consistently high positioning on the Global Gender Gap report; last year it ranked third, behind Iceland and Finland.

Why quotas work

Quotas have historically had an image problem, where they’re often seen as acts of do-gooder tokenism that enable less qualified personnel to take roles from more deserving, better-qualified candidates. However, this view is demonstrably ill-informed.

Gender quotas work in a company’s favour in measurable monetary terms. Research shows that a company’s bottom line gets a boost when it taps talent from across gender lines. In fact, some figures show that the more female managers a firm has, the more financially profitable it is.

We’ve known this for a while. A McKinsey report as early as 2017 proved the hypothesis that having more women in revenue-generating roles in organisations was directly connected to financial outperformance. It found a direct correlation between gender-balanced executive boards and better financial outcomes: diverse companies suffer less stock instability, invest more in development and see higher ROI for their investors.

Meanwhile, BoardReady, a not-for-profit organisation that fosters gender equality in business, found that during the pandemic, diversity-minded companies experienced less downside and even revenue growth.

Other indicators of an equal workplace

While many other European countries have followed the Norway model and made moves towards balancing the yin-yang of upper management in major companies through legislation, voluntary measures also have a significant impact on company cultures.

These include tying upper management’s compensation to proven diverse practices, shareholder activism, inclusivity/unconscious bias training, mentoring or sponsorship of female leaders and rolling out fully transparent hiring procedures.

While not immediately linked to a firm’s bottom line, these are the invisible, day-to-day practices that make companies more attractive to the best talent out there. For this reason, it’s easier than ever for diverse-minded job-seekers to identify the companies that value good gender equity and general employee diversity.

Looking for an exciting new career in tech? House of Talent has thousands of roles to choose from; browse three of them below.

Senior Backend Software Engineer, Zalando, Berlin

Zalando’s Berlin HQ is seeking a Backend Software Engineer for the Logistics “Core Ability” team to help develop high-performance, scalable software.

The right person for this role will be collaborative, working with fellow talented engineers to improve workflow management and build next-generation warehouse management systems. You should be fluent in JVM-based languages and Spring Boot, Typescript knowledge is a bonus, and familiarity with Kubernetes tools would be a serious plus.

The benefits package includes fashion/beauty discounts, relocation assistance, family, health, well-being, and mental health supports, personal development training, and peer-to-peer reviews. Apply for this role now.

M&A Business Strategy Consultant Accenture, Amsterdam

Accenture’s Global M&A and Private Equity team in Amsterdam is hiring a Business Strategy Consultant. Ideally, you’ll have three years of experience in a similar consulting role, and your skillset will touch on pre/post-deal strategy, M&A strategy, due diligence, and merger integration.

Preferably you’ll have a higher degree in business, engineering or economics, a strong handle on tech and you’ll be available to travel within Europe. Read more about this role and apply here.

Digital Forensic Specialist, Oracle, Dublin

Reporting to the Director of Digital Forensics Management, the Digital Forensic Specialist at Oracle in Dublin, Ireland will manage confidential security, legal and investigative information, and offer the best possible advice to stakeholders within the company.

Three years of relevant experience would be preferred, as well as a knowledge of disk encryption solutions, strong tech skills (including training and certification in the relevant forensic tools) and a good problem-solving mind. Teamwork, communications and good documentation and knowledge-transfer skills are a must.

This role involves roughly 25% international travel. Find out more about what it’s like to work at Oracle and see all the role’s requirements.

For even more career opportunities across all sectors, start browsing The House of Talent job board today

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with