Quotas are for fish

Blog, 7 October 2014

By the time the Dutch women's soccer team is a leading player in international women's soccer, women will also account for 50% of boardroom seats.

It is useless to try and rush through any form of quota as long as the number of male candidates for director positions is five times greater than that of female candidates. This situation is a result of the uneven distribution in the labour force for executive positions. In 2014, the percentages of full-time employees, age 35 or up, with a college or graduate degree were 20% women and 80% men. What’s more, the majority of those highly educated women have degrees in social or cultural disciplines.* The goal of 30% is hampered by a combination of constraints, namely educational preferences, age and part-time employment, which do not accommodate working in a tough management position.

More and more young women are expected to choose to study in fields more relevant to assuming senior business positions and also to decide to work full-time. A changing society and new management styles, such as 'servant leadership', along with the widely accepted understanding that diversity can genuinely help organisations succeed, make it all the more likely that women will aspire to full-time management positions.

In 2008, Maes & Lunau placed only 10 women in senior positions, out of 100 searches. In 2013, the number had risen to 21 and it went up again, to 23, in 2014. That may not be enough, according to some, but it is definitely progress. We expect our Dutch team to be playing for the world title at the Women's World Cup in 2027.

Mattijs Kropholler
Managing Partner
Maes & Lunau Executive Search
Amsteldijk 194
1079 LK  Amsterdam

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