Diversity Discussions: The impact of Balance for Better Business in Ireland

Matthew Fitzpatrick our consultant managing the role

Balance for Better Business is an independent group led by top Irish business leaders, established by the government to improve gender balance in senior business leadership in Ireland. Launched in July 2018, the group was tasked with examining the gender mix in the governance and senior management of companies in Ireland.

Historically, Irish businesses have ranked poorly in terms of gender diversity in the board room, and even with the Balance for Better Business review group, progress remains slow.

According to their most recent report, only 13% of CEOs in Irish businesses were women. Additionally, the report also stated that companies across the country are on track to fail against the voluntary targets it has set. 

Balance for Better Business Action plan

Balance for Better Business is calling for significant reform to ensure women play a greater role at board level and in senior leadership teams. The group has set clear, actionable and progressive targets, not only for listed businesses, but private Irish-owned companies too.

Each year, the commission releases a report with their recommendations for businesses across the country. As of their 2021 report, here are their three key recommendations:

  1. Plan to set targets and achieve them by having an action plan
  2. Act to build a gender balanced succession plan
  3. Report for transparency and accountability


Progress of the Balance for Better Business Group to date

The group has had backing from major national institutions, like the Bank of Ireland, which has leant enormous credibility to the campaign.

Overall, there has been amazing gains for women in businesses across Ireland. Key milestones, since the launch of the group, include:

  • 41% of appointments to the board at listed companies Euronext Dublin were female, with 30% for large privately-owned businesses
  • 30% of board members in listed companies are now women
  • Out of the 29 EU nations, Ireland now ranks 12th for gender balance on company boards, up from 17th in 2018

Ultimately, female business leaders in Ireland face the same challenges as women in business all over the world. Like many countries, Irish businesses remain male dominated environments. The number of all-male boards has decreased significantly, to only five. However, there are still a number of exclusive male leadership teams across listed companies (34%) and Irish privately-owned companies (20%). 

Ultimately, female business leaders in Ireland face the same challenges as women in business all over the world. Like many countries, Irish businesses remain male dominated environments."


Even more pressure for greater gender balance

As of June 2022, gender pay gap reporting will become mandatory for Irish businesses who employ more than 250 people. As part of this, businesses must explain any examples of pay disparity, provide data on bonus pay, and provide average pay ranges. Additionally, employers must also publish a statement outlining, in their employee’s words, the reason for the gender pay gap in the company and what measures are being proposed to eliminate the discrepancy.

This is a significant step in the right direction for women across the country and will help build upon the work started by Balance for Better Business. One of the group’s key recommendations was to increase transparency and accountability, which this piece of legislation enables and empowers.

 How we’re helping businesses in Ireland become even more diverse and inclusive…

Organisations partner with Marks Sattin in Ireland, not only to tap into the expertise we’ve built over the last 30 years, but also because of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

It’s more difficult than ever to attract the best finance talent, and that challenge is only amplified when trying to recruit diverse talent. This is where we step in. As specialists in finance recruitment, we have grown an extensive network of clients who trust us to help them build a diverse team.

If you’re looking to hire your next CFO, finance consultant, change manager, group financial controller, finance manager, or investment executive, then submit a brief and we’ll be in touch for a chat.

Or if it’s time for a career change, find out more about our live opportunities in Ireland at Marks Sattin.


01/07/22
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