At Maxus, we believe that diversity creates a more vibrant working culture for us all - it allows us to offer broader points of view, and greater, more inspired ideas for our clients. Within this it’s important to ensure there’s fairness between our people of different genders, religions, beliefs and backgrounds. Therefore the subject of equality will be high on our agenda in 2016.
Lindsay Pattison, our Global CEO, feels passionately about gender equality and being the only female leader at this level in GroupM, she is well positioned to lead change in this area. Over the past few years she has supported a number of initiatives across the industry, one example being WACL (women in advertising and communications) . This year she is determined to bring the focus closer to home. Following an investigation across our global network, it’s been found that within Maxus we have a good number of women in senior roles - 40% at head of/director level. However, at board level there is a different story - only 24% of our executive board members are female.
This isn’t just an issue at Maxus, it reflects the bigger picture. Only 12% of board seats worldwide are held by women and fewer still, 4%, are CEO's heading the world’s 500 leading corporations. We know there is a strong business case, as well as an ethical one, to address here: “Companies where women make up a third or more of board members significantly outperformed their rivals, with 53% more return on equity.” (Deloitte Global: “Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective”)
So what can we do to challenge this imbalance at Maxus and drive even greater business success?
We’re certain that none of our Maxus women would want to be promoted just because they are female, so it’s time to look at the barriers that exist for our female talent in this industry – the ones they create for themselves, as well as the unconscious bias that exists within most organisations. This isn't about declaring war on men, quite the opposite. It's about amplifying our female talent whilst they stand side by side with their male counterparts, to drive the success of our business.
We start in April 2016 by holding Walk the Talk, an intensive two day experience to empower our female senior leaders and stand-out talent to take the steps they need to thrive in their careers. Held in New York, London and Phuket, this isn't a conference, more a working group. To follow, each leader will be responsible for introducing new behaviours into their respective markets, to bring a better balance and greater opportunity for all.
We hope this event will demonstrate Maxus' philosophy of leading change is as effective for our people as it is our clients.