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Aust women in management falls: report

AAP logoAAP 26/09/2016

There are more women around Australia's boardroom tables but it's actually more women in management that boosts a company's performance, according to a report.

Credit Suisse's Gender 3000: The Reward for Change Report, released on Monday, shows that global companies with more women in decision-making roles generate higher returns and better profits.

Credit Suisse said Australia has the highest proportion of women on boards in the Asia Pacific region and the 12th highest in the 35 countries surveyed worldwide.

The proportion of women board members in Australia rose 0.2 percentage points to 20.1 per cent between 2014 and 206.

But, the report also shows, Australia's management diversity has actually declined in the past two years.

Australia has dropped from the top 10 with the proportion of women in senior management roles falling from 18.9 per cent in 2014 to 17.1 per cent this year.

Credit Suisse head of markets research Stefano Natella says companies and shareholders get "tremendous" benefit from greater gender diversity on boards, but diversity in senior management is the key.

"Management manages companies, while boards supervise them. To understand the full impact of gender diversity, we need to focus on management," he said in a statement.

"The data shows that there is a strong correlation between companies with high levels of diversity in management and their performance."

The report also shows that the higher the proportion of women in senior management, the better the company's return to shareholders.

Credit Suisse said that between the end of 2013 and mid-2016 companies with 25 per cent of management roles filled by women recorded 2.8 per cent growth in the price of their shares, those with 33 per cent female managers recorded 4.8 per cent growth and those with more than 50 per cent recorded 10.3 per cent. This compares to an overall average share price fall of one per cent.

The report also dispelled the Queen Bee myth - that women promote women - showing there was no consistent correlation between higher diversity in the boardroom and increased participation of women in senior management.

"Paradoxically, the efforts made to increase gender diversity in boardrooms can limit the available female talent in senior management and hinder expanded representation for women in executive positions in the future," Credit Suisse said.

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