Research shows that having women in leadership roles can boost net profit margins. Research shows that having women in leadership roles can boost net profit margins.

Companies with more female leaders are more profitable, with statistics showing significant profit margins and improved KPIs, analysts have claimed. But that’s not all: having women in the top leadership team is directly related to increased profitability, according to a study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries.

Women in leadership is definitely a business issue asserted Maria Tullberg, general manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek.

“It is not a fight between men and women. On the contrary, we need each other in order to be more successful overall. [Research] clearly shows that a diverse team will increase all key performance indicators (KPIs), from sales, return on investment (ROI), and net profit, to guest and employee satisfaction,” Tullberg told Hotelier Middle East at the Women in Leadership summit at the M Gallery by Sofitel in Dubai. “The magic starts to happen once the team reaches a balance of at least 30% women in leadership positions.”

Tullberg’s assertions are validated by statistics. The Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY analysed results from 21,980 global, publicly traded companies in 91 countries, from various industries and sectors, and discovered that having women in at least 30% of leadership positions, or the C-suite, added 6% to net profit margins.

The gender imbalance extends not just across the Middle East — there is a dearth of women in high-level positions at companies worldwide. The 2016 Fortune 500 list included just 21 companies with women at the helm, compared to 24 in 2015.

Mohamed Awadalla, CEO of Time Hotels, is set open a new hotel that aims to be 80% staffed by women. The Time Asma Hotel, which will be located in Dubai’s Al Barsha, is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Awadalla believes that the hospitality industry must do more to attract, retain, and support female professionals and their aspirations for career development.

“Currently, we are seeing equal numbers of male and female graduates leaving hospitality school, but the number of women entering the workforce is decidedly lower than that of men. This is something that has been recognised by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who has set a goal to increase the presence of women in the workplace,” he said.

The number of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) hospitality sector may be set to increase, however. While the region has lagged behind more mature markets such as Europe in the past when it came to gender diversity, the region has evolved to recognise it as an important element in the operations of any successful organisation. Far-reaching initiatives to promote female representation in the workforce are beginning to receive backing from the private and public sectors, and this is having a positive effect on the hospitality industry throughout the Middle East.

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