Executive search firm Odgers Berndtson Ireland says openness to female candidates will only get firms so far.
Businesses who are reluctant to embrace new ways of working, such as flexible working, will struggle to achieve real gender balance in their senior staff.
In time for International Women’s Day, Odgers Berndtson Ireland released figures showing a growing number of women being placed in roles including non-executive directors, C-suite executives and heads of function among their client companies.
“Some organisations are not open to considering 4-day weeks or other flexible options that could attract women to a role with their organisation, and this can be a stubborn obstacle to real balance”
The firm found that organisations need to be open to new flexible working arrangements.
“Businesses are by and large hugely committed to balancing gender at senior management level,” said principal and head of Candidate Care at Odgers Berndtson Ireland Helen Thomas.
“But the reality is that however much they would like to do so, some organisations are not open to considering 4-day weeks or other flexible options that could attract women to a role with their organisation, and this can be a stubborn obstacle to real balance.
“Flexibility in the workplace is here to stay for many, and we’re advising businesses to use the new ways of working to maximise their attractiveness to all candidates, not just women.”
Figures for 2022 from the Irish arm of the global company show 70% of their candidates appointed to Non-Executive Director and Chair positions were female – up from 53% in 2021
According to the firm, 23% of candidates placed as CEOs or managing directors s were women, an increase on the previous year’s figure of 14%
It said 67% of senior leaders placed by Odgers Berndtson Ireland to Irish plcs last year were female – a record high for this category.
Some 61% of placements to financial services organisations were female, following on from 62% in 2021.
Around 41% of all their senior placements were female, following on from 42% in 2021.
Managing partner at Odgers Berndtson Ireland Mark O’Donnell says the annual figures show client companies have recognised the need for change at senior levels.
“We have a responsibility to support our clients in making diversity a reality in their organisations and we take that very seriously. The truth now is that companies cannot compete unless they listen to the diversity message and adopt their policies and practices to accommodate modern expectations.
“We’ve been tracking a continued trend towards a more even gender balance in our placements and I’m delighted to see this year’s figures continue that.”