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March 8, 2015 – 12:44AM
Not only are women rare at the top of big Australian companies, but men named Peter run more such companies than do women.
Thirteen of the companies on the ASX200 are run by men named Peter. Just 12 are run by women.
Fewer big Australian companies are run by women than by men named Peter.
The shocking finding after decades of talk about breaking the glass ceiling comes from a count of the 200 biggest public companies that constitute the ASX200 index.
Thirteen of the top 200 are run by men named Peter; among them Westfield, Woodside Petroleum and Macquarie Roads. Twelve are run by women; among them Coca-Cola Amatil, Cochlear and Harvey Norman.
Companies run by a Peter, a Michael, a David or an Andrew outnumber those run by women four to one.
The idea for the survey isn’t original. It comes from the US economist Justin Wolfers who wrote in the New York Times this week that fewer large American companies were run by women than by men named John.
Wolfers is an Australian by birth and a visiting professor at Sydney University, so he’d probably be disappointed to hear that things are just as bad back home. Whereas in the US four chief executives are named John, Robert, William or James for every one who is a woman (“including every woman’s name, from Abby to Zara”) in Australia there are four named Peter, Michael, Andrew or David for every one who is a woman.
It’s unfortunate, not just for women who might want to run organisations, but also for the organisations themselves. That’s because there’s good evidence that organisations run by women are better run. Really.
The most compelling evidence is brand new. It’s from a 15-year study of Luxembourg banks published in January. The researchers compared the representation of women in the senior management of the 264 banks with their quarter-by-quarter financial performance reported to the regulator.
They found a 10 per cent increase in the proportion of women in the senior management ranks of a bank lifted its financial performance by more than 3 per cent per annum.
There’s more. The 15-year period included the years of the global financial crisis. During those years, from 2007 to 2009, the effect almost doubled.
Women managed the banks better in the lead-up to and in times of crisis.
It’s easy to guess why. Women are less inclined to take stupid risks. It’s one of the reasons women live longer than men. Fewer die in accidents.
The study quotes Neelie Kroes, the European Union commissioner for competition during the crisis.
“If Lehman Brothers had been ‘Lehman Sisters’, would the crisis have happened like it did?” she asks.
“No,” she replies. “Generally, women have a better ear to listen, and they are less likely to pretend to know everything themselves. They are team players with less ego.”
It’s not only attitudes to risk that can make women better at the top, it’s also attitudes to women.
Another study finds that the performance of firms with women at the top increases with the share of women workers. Women taking over male-managed firms with at least 20 per cent of women in the workforce lift sales per employee by about 14 per cent.
Women are better at dealing with women.
I am sure you are about to scream that this is a generalisation, not true in every case and perhaps not true of someone you know. But most things about gender are generalisations. Not all women fail to make it to the top. Some (almost as many as men named Peter) do. But taken together women are more likely to fail to make it to the top than men. And taken together women are more likely to run certain types of firms better than men. Taken together that seems to be because women are more cautious and better at dealing with women.
So how do we get more women to the top?
A team led by Dr Danielle Merrett, of the University of Sydney, has come up with the simplest of easy fixes: when selecting candidates for a job (any job) make sure the shortlist contains an equal number of men and women.
Its experiments suggest that doing no more than that can lift the proportion of women chosen to 60 per cent.
It opens up the possibility of a new type of quota – not one that insists on a certain proportion of women being appointed, but merely one that insists on there enough women available so that choosing a woman doesn’t look unusual.
What if that’s all it takes? What if instead of being chosen from a panel with names like Peter, Michael, Andrew and David the next head of BHP is chosen from a panel where half have names are like Peta, Michelle, Andrea and Davinia. What if it could lift BHP’s performance?
Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.
The Canberra Times
October 22, 2014
Equally beautiful: The online registers of financial planners are something of a beauty contest, with only positive things said about those on them.
What are consumers to make of launches of online searchable registers of financial planners. Westpac has launched Adviser View, which includes the names of the bank’s financial advisers.
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The plan is to eventually include the other advisers working for planning firms aligned to Westpac. Among other things, qualifications, areas of speciality and professional memberships are shown.
Clients can leave comments and once an adviser reaches 10 customer ratings the website will show a combined star rating and the comments. The “service” is, of course, primarily a marketing tool.
My bet is that once the service is mature, it will be a beauty parade of planners where all of the planners may be deemed to be equally beautiful.
A sort of TripAdvisor for those looking for a financial adviser it is not going to be.
The “find a planner” site run by Financial Planning Association does not offer consumers very much, as is to be expected of an association representing all of its members. It seems to be mostly about locating planners that live closest to the consumer.
Consumers can be assured that the planner is a member of the association and the search can be narrowed to Certified Financial Planners which, the association says, is the “gold standard” of financial planning.
Then there is Adviser Ratings, a national register of financial planners that is free and whose creators say is independent. Advisers are knocked out from being rated if they have ever been bankrupt, among other things.
The adviser is then rated by a combination of factors including client answers to questions about the service they received from the adviser.
Beddoes Institute has launched its Most Trusted Advisers Register.
It is also free and claims to be independent. Clients of advisers are questioned about their experiences with the adviser by the Beddoes Institute. Thousands of clients of more than 150 advisers have been questioned so far. Of these 150, more than 30 have so far made it onto the network.
The service is designed to pick the best of the best. Then there is the government’s proposed “enhanced” register of advisers, which will probably be launched next year. Let ussee what will be left on the register for consumers after the financial planning interest groups “workshop” what should be included.
The big positive is that it will be the first centralised, national listing of advisers. It is doubtful that consumers will get a register anything like that available to consumers in the United States. All the positive information is there such as advisers’ credentials, but they have to provide their employment histories.
And then there is the interesting stuff such as whether an adviser or the adviser’s employer has had “certain disciplinary events” with regulators.
Even “serious” complaints from investors are included.
Of course, there are not too many planners with negative listings that are listed on the register. They tend to be no longer working in the industry; the very thing a fair dinkum Australian register would help bring about.
Source : The Canberra Times
August 3, 2013
Sheridan McElligott, 20, of Florey, Megan Barker, 20, of Fadden and Bethany Flanagan, 21, of O’Connor discuss Canberra’s men. Photo: Melissa Adams
There are plenty of young men moving to Canberra, but some of the city’s young women are not particularly impressed.
The federal government’s State of Australian Cities report, published on Wednesday, showed Canberra’s population growth rate more than doubled in the five years to 2011 and men under the age of 24 were the largest group of new residents.
More than four out of five people who moved to Canberra in that period were men.
Australian National University development studies student Megan Barker, 20, was in Civic to watch a movie with friends Sheridan McElligott and Bethany Flanagan on Thursday night.
Ms Barker, of Fadden, is recently single after the end of a long term relationship. “From what my friends who have been single for a while say, there’s plenty of single guys out there but not necessarily single guys you’d want to do anything with,” she laughed.
“We mainly see guys from around the ANU, and a lot of them can be rather immature and cocky.”
Ms Flanagan, of O’Connor, also a student at the ANU, said she had noticed a lot of large groups of young men on nights out in the city.
“Especially when you’re out in Civic there always seems like a huge number of guys compared to girls, but I guess I’ve always assumed that’s just guys go out drinking more and sometimes looking for that more,” she said. But Ms Flanagan was willing to defend male ANU students – she has begun dating a science student.
“My experience having recently got into a relationship with an import to Canberra [is that] some of them are really good,” she said.
A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure and Transport,which published the report, said he could not offer any specific reasons for the trend but commented: “Males usually have a higher propensity to migrate than females at all age groups but there are places and times, such as regional Australia in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, which lost females at a far higher rate than males.”