Diversity on Swiss Stock Exchanges – quo vadis?
Diversity Report Switzerland 2021 analyzes 231 listed companies and 7,656 Swiss stock corporations with more than 50 employees.
Zurich, 3 June 2021
For the second time, GetDiversity GmbH is presenting its Diversity Report Switzerland, the only complete survey to date on gender diversity in 231 executive boards and 7,656 boards of directors of Swiss companies (as of February 2021). The closeness in time to the stock corporation law in force since January 1, 2021, which prescribes gender benchmarks of 30% on boards of directors and 20% on executive boards for listed companies headquartered in Switzerland, was deliberately chosen. The determination of the current status quo makes it possible to track the development towards achieving the gender benchmarks in the companies on the basis of the annual Diversity Report.
This time, special attention was paid to the ten largest companies in Switzerland, which, with a total of over one million employees, also serve as role models in terms of human resources policy. With more than 30% women on the board of directors, more than 20% on the executive board and more than 30% of authorized signatories, Zurich Insurance Group tops the list of the top ten. Other companies in the top ranks are UBS and Nestlé, also with 30% women on their boards, and Lafarge Holcim, ABB and Roche with over 20% women on their executive boards. This means that all of them together are already close to the legal requirements.
However, these companies are still the exception. In contrast, 83 of the 231 companies listed on Swiss stock exchanges (36%) have all-male boards of directors, 134 (58%) do not have a single woman on the executive board, and 51 (22%) have no women at all as signatories.
So there is still some way to go for the 231 listed companies until they meet the legal requirements. The same applies to the companies analyzed as a whole. Of the 7,656 stock corporations analyzed, 4,908 (64%) have no women on their board of directors. On the positive side, however, 1,495 (20%) of the companies already comply with the gender guidelines for boards of directors of listed companies.
In order to successfully meet the challenges of the new stock corporation law, the Diversity Report Switzerland 2021 goes well beyond a data analysis and offers extensive additional benefits. For example, what the application of the new stock corporation law means for the audit of listed companies and what the responsible comitée should know about it. Claudia Mattig, CEO and co-owner of Mattig-Suter und Partner and member of the board of directors and executive committee of EXPERTsuisse, and Dr. Marius Klauser, director and CEO of EXPERTsuisse, explain in an in-depth interview how even small changes in promotion and recruitment strategies can have a major impact on diversity in management bodies. Diversity experts Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander, Director of the Competence Centre for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of St. Gallen, and Esther-Mir- jam de Boer, Co-CEO of GetDiversity, explain how even small changes in promotion and recruitment strategies can have a major impact on diversity in management bodies. Their expert contributions are each supplemented by interviews that can be accessed via QR code.
Equal quota and equal opportunities
The gender benchmarks apply equally to men and women – by no means exclusively to women – Dr. Marius Klauser makes this clear in an interview (Diversity Report Switzerland 2021, p. 6). In doing so, he clears up a possible misunderstanding which, however, often occurs when the term “promotion” is used in connection with appropriate gender representation. To specifically counteract this, the authors of the Diversity Report Switzerland and CEOs of GetDiversity, Carla Kaufmann and Esther-Mirjam de Boer, founded the Diversity! Association this year. As a know-how ecosystem, the association is committed to equal opportunities and equal rights for all gainfully employed talents in the working world on the basis of their abilities – regardless of gender.
Focusing on talent – the Swiss “Diversity Champions”
It seems that the 267 “Diversity Champions” among this year’s stock corporations have long since understood the principle of “talent before gender”. This refers to companies that have a gender representation of 50% women and 50% men on the board of directors and among the authorized signatories, which is why the Diversity Report Switzerland 2021 designates them as “Diversity Champions”.
These companies include, among others
– Peter Steiner Holding AG, Zurich,
– YX Magnetic SA, Sierre
– Hotel Europe Davos AG, Davos,
– Effingermedien AG, Brugg
– Groupe Médical de Versoix SA, Versoix
– Valmont Group Holding SA, Geneva
– EF Education First AG, Zurich
– Montanstahl SA, Stabio
– Informaticon AG, Frutigen
– Alters- und Pflegezentrum Au AG, Steinen
Diversity instead of inbreeding
What is the opposite of diversity? Or, to put it another way: Why these “pull-ups” for a good mix? Why does diversity make companies more competitive and resilient? “In nature, the answer is clear. Here, a lack of diversity is synonymous with monoculture and inbreeding – and this is not a sustainable condition. It is well known that the exclusion of foreign genetic material makes plants weak, short-lived and feeble-minded in the medium to long term,” explains Esther-Mirjam de Boer.
According to a Harvard study, the 60-year lifespan of an S&P 500 company predicted as recently as the 1960s has been reduced to 18 years in the meantime. Is this the consequence of a lack of diversity? As de Boer puts it: “In recent decades, the templates for supposedly good employees have become extremely narrow, because people want to play it safe. As a result, many talents outside these standards fall through the ras- ter, which reduces diversity and promotes blind spots.”
The publication of the Diversity Report Switzerland 2021 was actively supported by the co-publishers EXPERTsuisse and Swiss Ladies Drive and also made possible thanks to the support of Swiss Post.
1) Methodology Diversity Report Switzerland 2021:
GetDiversity queried the commercial register data of all stock corporations with more than 50 employees and evaluated and statistically analyzed them by gender distribution with the help of artificial intelligence. The evaluation was based on the first names of the registered persons. Ambiguous names such as Andrea and Dominique were researched and assigned by hand. Random samples resulted in an accuracy of over 98%.
Since 2007, GetDiversity has successfully supported companies in expanding and harnessing diversity in their management bodies at all levels. For boards of directors and executive management, GetDiversity offers recruitment processes that promote qualifications for strategy and leadership work while at the same time promoting equal opportunities. GetDiversity is the market leader in Switzerland for the recruitment of female board members and the second largest board search firm in Switzerland. Since the takeover in 2016, the co-owners Esther-Mirjam de Boer and Carla Jane Kaufmann have developed the company into a talent tech company that can find 50%/50% qualified women and men for any mandate using BigData solutions. www.getdiversity.ch
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Mediarelease Diversity Report 2020
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Diversity on Swiss boards of directors in 2020 -19% top – 67% flop
Zürich, 3. September 2020
For the first time, the Diversity Report Switzerland 2020 provides a complete survey of gender diversity on the boards of directors of Swiss companies. The data of the 7’605 public limited companies with more than 50 employees registered in the Swiss Commercial Register (as of July 2020) served as the basis for analysis. The evaluation 1) was carried out by GetDiversity GmbH with the intention of creating transparency about the still untapped potential of capable and diverse talents with which Swiss companies could effectively secure and expand their competitiveness.
The result: there is a ray of light on the horizon. After all, 19% or 1’453 of the companies surveyed have a gender diversity in the range of 30% – 70% and thus already voluntarily comply with the soon to be valid gender benchmarks for boards of directors of listed companies. Clearly above this target, and thus particularly positive, are 274 Swiss companies with a 50/50 distribution both on the board of directors and among the signatories. They are referred to in this report as “diversity champions”.
The downside: 67% or 4’961 of the companies evaluated do not have a single woman on their board of directors, 132 no men. The picture is similarly bleak in terms of gender mix among all those responsible under commercial law (board of directors and signatories): 2’965 work without women, 67 without men. This means that 40% of the analysed companies do not have a gender mix among their officers. distribuzione 50/50 sia nel consiglio di amministrazione che tra i firmatari autorizzati. Nel presente rapporto queste aziende vengono nominate “campionesse della diversità”.
A total of 3’528 board seats of medium-sized and large companies in Switzerland, which corresponds to 14% of the board seats in the analysed companies, are filled by women. Accordingly, there are already significantly more women with board experience than is often assumed or claimed, who could contribute this experience or ensure a better gender mix.
In view of these figures, it becomes clear that the majority of the analysed companies are giving away decisive competitive advantages. It is well proven and known that mixed teams are more successful and profitable thanks to their diversity in terms of e.g. solution competence, innovative strength and risk assessment. Behavioural research shows that diversity has its full effect with a share of at least 30%. With an average share of women of 14% in the boards of directors and 19% among the signatories, diversity is not yet sufficiently effective in the companies studied. The potential to structurally improve the chances of entrepreneurial success is accordingly high.
The Swiss « Diversity Champions »
There is another way. At least 274 of the companies evaluated have long since recognised this and prove it with a gender representation of 50% women and 50% men on the board of directors and among the signatories, which is why the Diversity Report Switzerland 2020 designates them as “Diversity Champions”.
These companies include, for example:
Surprising in this context is that the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, which was the last in Switzerland to introduce women’s suffrage at the cantonal level in 1991, has the highest proportion of “diversity champions” at 13%.
Fix the system – not the women
“If we want more Swiss companies to become ‘diversity champions’ in the future, or at least exceed the 30% mark, a cultural change in these companies is necessary,” states Esther-Mirjam de Boer, co-owner and director of GetDiversity GmbH.
If companies lose women on the way to the top management level, it means that they have a “leaking pipeline”. In oil companies, it is clear that a leaking pipeline is fixed at the pipe, not the oil. Some executives still believe that a leaking pipeline in their talent pool is to be fixed in the women, rather than in the company. “More and more companies, however, are coming to realise that the company culture, the way it is run, the structures, processes and habits are part of the problem and are therefore changing the system. The motto is: fix the system – not the women,” the expert on diversity and inclusive culture concludes. The publication of the Diversity Report Switzerland 2020 was actively supported by the co-publishers Swiss Post and Swiss Ladies Drive as well as the partners AMAG, Berner Kantonalbank and SBB.
Note: Almost simultaneously with the Diversity Report Switzerland, the Advance and HSG Gender Intelligence Report 2020 (www.advance-hsg-report.ch) will be published on 10 September 2020. In this report, the promotion chains across all hierarchy levels are analysed, based on structural data from 75 large Swiss companies. The two studies thus complement each other perfectly in order to draw an overall picture of the gender mix in the Swiss economy, both in terms of breadth and depth.
1) Methodology: GetDiversity queried the commercial register data of all public limited companies with more than 50 employees and evaluated and statistically analysed them according to gender distribution with the help of artificial intelligence. The evaluation was based on the first names of the registered persons. Ambiguous names such as Andrea and Dominique were researched and assigned by hand. Random samples yielded an accuracy of over 98%. The largest banks and insurance companies were excluded from this survey because they have a disproportionately large number of authorised signatories or subsidiaries, which distort the results.
Since 2007, GetDiversity has successfully supported companies in expanding and harnessing their diversity. For boards of directors and executive boards, GetDiversity offers recruitment processes that promote qualification for strategy work and equal opportunities at the same time.
GetDiversity is the market leader for gender diversity in Switzerland. Since the takeover in 2016, the two owners Esther-Mirjam de Boer and Carla Jane Kaufmann have developed the company into a TalentTech company that can find qualified women for any mandate using BigData solutions.
An InclusiveCulture is what makes diversity in companies effective in a sustainable way the first place. More and more companies rely on GetDiversity’s strategy consulting for the cultural transformation of their companies towards more cooperation and diversity.
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