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Despite the current market conditions and the prospect of shrinking profits, some companies continue to make diversity, equity and inclusion a priority, even in the face of a recession.
While this is encouraging news, we’ve been noticing it for a while, especially when it comes to financial services and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). While there is still much more progress to be made, new evidence shows that a more equitable landscape is emerging. Bee exponents annual Stock exchange event, I shared some of the following details that point to the changes in M&A activity.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are important in M&A
Twenty-two percent of 600 global dealmakers data site Those surveyed reported seeing a deal fail in the past year due to diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) issues revealed during the due diligence process. Several of those surveyed cited HR hiring, promotion, and retention policies as the greatest DEI risk to a deal, followed by sexual harassment claims. However, DEI is still not considered a major threat as other merger and acquisition risks, but the new research shows how a company’s culture can influence both performance and value.
DEI is important in the workplace
However, DEI is not only important in the context of a deal. It also matters in the context of the workplace we all inhabit day in and day out – virtual or in person. Significant progress has been made in representing women in deals. In our latest questionnaire44% of respondents identified as female, including 49% of the millennial generation.
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What’s more, according to our research, while both genders demand promotions equally, women are 5% more likely to be offered a promotion and experience faster career progression to the managerial level than men. In addition, more women than men reported receiving a base salary increase of 16% or more last year, although overall pay increases for men and women remain unevenly distributed last year.
Work that still needs to be done
However, it’s not all good news. We also found that more women than men in M&A – 30% compared to 26%, respectively – are actively looking for other jobs. Between the competing factors of today’s Great Resignation and M&A talent crunch, these percentages can quickly add up. Our research also found that: Men M&A continues to dominate at the senior manager and executive level. In addition, 40% or more of both sexes do not seek promotion due to concerns about work pressure and travel.
Finally, children and childcare are areas that deserve more attention. Most M&A professionals reported having children under the age of 18, including 10% more men than women. What is particularly interesting, however, is that more than 50% of both men and women consider themselves the primary caregivers of children 18 years of age or younger. At the height of the pandemic, more women than men in mergers and acquisitions – and in many other companies and industries – reported burnout as a result of more performance to watch out in their personal lives. Now, however, it seems that both genders have multiple responsibilities, something that dealmaking organizations will consider if they want to retain and nurture talent.
What else can dealmaking organizations do to create and support greater equality, both in the context of a deal and in the workplace? Here are a few ideas:
Encouraging the use of family-friendly benefits by men
Organizations should encourage men to take advantage of family-friendly policies, including parental leave. Even when offered, men are less likely to take parental leave due to financial costs, gender expectations or fears it could harm their careers. However, Research shows that there are physical, emotional and financial benefits for men who take parental leave, including the fact that they are more likely to be equal partners in raising their children.
Global dealmakers have said they are not sure how to ally with people from different backgrounds, with 20% with fears of how to properly involve them are cited as the biggest factor holding them back. To find, nurture and take M&A talent to the next level, managers need to support educational efforts about why inclusivity matters and how to be an ally. For example, we have created a learning-oriented culture that fosters openness, empathy, curiosity and adaptability, improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Our DEI Board is an employee-led, multi-functional, global team that directs DEI across the company. By involving employees in this effort, we hope to create a shared responsibility for fostering a culture where every employee can bring the best of themselves to work every day and provides a space for employees to learn together and from each other, which leads to greater cooperation, understanding and belonging.
The pandemic has shown us that many activities can be done remotely. We saw this from the perspective of an organization, and through our customers. There are, of course, parts of dealmaking that benefit from face-to-face meetings, especially when it comes to cultivating new relationships, but virtual dealmaking works.
Start a female genius club
Call female colleagues ‘geniuses’. The thinking behind this is that calling a female colleague a genius at passing conversations and discussions helps build their credibility and elevate them. Think about how describing a female coworker as a genius could turn out the next time she’s considered for an immediate assignment, job, or promotion. It is a small act that can have a powerful effect.
Creating lasting and sustainable value will always be a good investment strategy. And when it comes to M&A, organizations that prioritize DEI efforts and resources will help driving successful business results.
Deb LaMere is the chief human resources officer at Datasite.
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