Article

Female CEOs are Worth $80m, and Now There’s Research to Prove It


WORK180Jun 24, 2020

“Having a female CEO leads to a 5.0 per cent increase in market value of Australian ASX-listed companies, or the equivalent of $79.6 million on average.” - Workplace Gender Equality Agency

World-first research by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in partnership with Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) has identified a causal relationship between companies appointing a woman as CEO and a 5% increase in market value. We now have even more proof that it’s good business to have women in your leadership team.

The Research - Proof of the Value of Women

Taking six years of gender reporting from Australian companies to the WGEA, the study pinpoints a causal link between greater gender diversity and business success. The WGEA collects one of the most comprehensive sets of data globally, and their research established companies who appointed a female CEO increased their market value by 5%, an average ASX200 value of nearly $AUD80 million.

Additionally, a 10% or more increase in women in key leadership positions increases a company's market value by 6.6%, or $AUD105 million on average.

The study confirms an increase in the number of women in key decision-making positions leads to improved company performance. Companies with female CEOs are also 13% more likely to outperform their sector on at least three performance and profitability metrics such as earnings before interest and tax.

But there is still a way to go. Only 17% of company CEOs are women and almost 30% have no women in their key management teams.

The Impact of Covid on Women in Leadership

As Covid-19 has swept the globe, women have been impacted more than men. Women are taking the majority of the increased domestic load, managing more homeschooling and have been more likely to step back in their careers to support their partner’s work during the pandemic.

More women than men are leaving the workforce. This has a direct impact on diversity in future leadership teams and the gender balance across all levels.

With ASX200 companies standing to gain $105 million from a 10% increase in women in leadership, a shift in the opposite direction will cost these companies. Focusing Recovery Efforts on Diversity and Inclusion

Director of WGEA, Libby Lyons, celebrated the research findings and highlighted that recovery needs to keep D&I front and centre.

"As we ‘snap forward’ to a post-COVID-19 economy, this report demonstrates that CEOs and senior executives must include gender equality as they develop recovery plans. More gender-balanced leadership will improve the bottom line and financial performance of any organisation.”

For some companies, it may be tempting to think of D&I as a separate, long-term priority that they will reconsider following a recovery. Those who ignore D&I, the gender balance of their leadership teams and ensuring they keep the talent pipeline diverse, do so at their peril.

How WORK180 Endorsed Employers for Women Are Raising the Bar

WORK180’s purpose of empowering women to choose a workplace where they can thrive is more important than ever. Our Endorsed Employers are not only transparent about their policies and benefits, they are consistently raising the bar. Women with excellent cv’s and years of experience know the value of this support, and comprise the majority of our job seekers.

The pace of change is impressive - Endorsed Employers are improving their policies at a rate of one every three weeks, and leading the industry in attracting and retaining women.

Recent policy updates from WORK180 Endorsed Employers include:

  • Phillips ANZ have increased the percentage of women in leadership roles from 21% to 34%, with a 40% target by 2022.

  • Unitywater are now a WGEA Pay Equity Ambassador due to their ongoing commitment.

Reducing the minimum waiting period to access parental leave

Increasing the amount of Paid Parental Leave for the Primary Carer

  • Splunk and Altis Consulting increased from 8 weeks to 14 weeks
  • ARQ Group increased from 12 to 14 weeks Paying superannuation during unpaid parental leave
  • Altis Consulting, WorkCover Queensland, ARQ Group and Hatch are all paying superannuation top-ups during unpaid parental leave

For Endorsed Employers it’s not just lip service, they’re implementing real change.

Continuous Improvement for the Employee Experience

To better understand how employers can improve their candidate experience, WORK180 has introduced a feedback loop. This helps gain valuable insights from candidates to inform changes employers can make to improve their recruitment process and attract talented women. The most searched levels of experience on the WORK180 platform are Senior, Manager, Mid Level followed by Director/Executive and the majority of the feedback received is for these positions.

Employers are taking this seriously and we’ve seen processes improve so encourage all job seekers to continue to provide feedback. Going one step further, the feedback loop will also be able to ascertain how women experience the company’s policies and benefits after joining the new employer.

How Do You Stack Up?

Endorsed Employers focus on policies relating to flexible work options, parental leave, gender-neutral policies and benefits, equal pay and a range of other initiatives designed to attract and retain women. Additionally, the gender-neutral nature of policies supports a shift away from the male breadwinner model that is heavily entrenched in Australia.

Having policies in place to encourage women to join and stay improves gender diversity in your succession plans and shifts company culture to support more women entering key leadership positions.

To learn how your organisation stacks up against the competition, take the HR Health Check today.


About the author

WORK180

WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.


WORK180 is a jobs board with a difference! We pre-screen employers on paid-parent leave, pay equity, flexible working arrangements and more. Find your dream job here.


Get the latest jobs and news
straight to your inbox.
 Cancel anytime.