Most managers accept that employers benefit from a diverse workforce, but the notion can be hard to prove or quantify, especially when it comes to measuring how diversity affects a firm’s ability to innovate. But new research provides compelling evidence that diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth—a finding that should intensify efforts to ensure that executive ranks both embody and embrace the power of differences.
Women represent a growth market more than twice as big as China and India combined. They control $20 trillion in global consumer spending, own or operate between 25-33% of all private businesses, and earn an estimated $13 trillion. This “power of the purse” is growing rapidly; expectations are that it will swell to $18 trillion by 2014. For companies that figure out what women want, the future looks rosy indeed.
Joanne Simms and Jim Baker are married. She is a physicist and he is a computational chemist. Both are employed as senior lecturers and are working hard to get good papers published in prestigious journals to earn the notice and respect of their scientific communities. The couple has two young children, ages 8 and 5. For both births, Simms and Baker shared the parental leave. Since returning to work, both have worked 3 to 4 days a week, juggling work and family obligations. Both are on their way to obtaining full professorships.
HBR research findings show that women-in-STEM dropout rates are huge: Over time 52% of these talented women quit their jobs. Most strikingly, these female scientists are abandoning their chosen professions in droves. Take a look at the five big factors contributing to this steady loss in talent and potential.