As new generations of women enter the workforce, they are bringing additional skill and value.
For the past 20 years, the percentage of women with at least a bachelor’s degree has exceeded that of men. The Council of Economic Advisers reports that women 25-34 years old were 2 percent more likely than men to be college graduates and 48 percent more likely to have completed graduate school in 2013.
The number of women in senior management positions remains low by comparison, garnering the attention of analysts. The latest CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management revealed companies with a greater percentage of women in senior management roles to be more profitable. Those with 15 percent or more of women in senior management positions saw double-digit premiums on returns.
As more young women receive higher levels of education and as the value of female executives continues to be acknowledged, the future appears bright for those seeking corporate leadership roles.
Gender Diversity in the Gaming Industry
As any executive will confirm, the path to the top takes time, hard work and strong professional relationships. This is crucial for women looking to advance, given the disparity between men and women in leadership positions, and the gaming industry is no exception.
Though women comprise approximately 50 percent of the gaming workforce, only 3 percent are in managerial roles. In order to support the development of successful female leaders in the industry, the American Gaming Association established Global Gaming Women (GGW) in 2011.
Recently, GGW commissioned a report from McClain Resources to examine the development and advancement of women in the gaming industry. The report also finds that gender diversity drives organizational and financial performance in businesses, noting that women demonstrate complementary and diverse leadership styles that correlate to overall company performance.
The authors interviewed women in the gaming industry, and all noted the importance of mentorship. However, many feel that the industry lacks a commitment to engage in strategies that advance employees. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, this can make rising through the ranks challenging for many women in gaming.
This data offers the industry an opportunity to encourage future leaders by committing to gender diversity at all levels of management. Companies proven to attract and retain the best and brightest believe in promoting diversity on all levels.
Karla Perez-Larragoite, national director of gaming at Cintas Global Accounts and Strategic Markets, feels that such a commitment is crucial to the advancement of women. “Start with the right culture,” she says. “Hire and promote those who fit that culture and are deserving, turning a blind eye to demographics.”
In addition to creating a culture in which gender diversity is valued, better access to career counseling, formal mentoring and sponsorship programs are all integral to advancement.
Finding those who will advocate for you takes time and effort. Renese Johnson, vice president at the Innovation Group, notes the importance of engaging in professional organizations such as GGW. “Don’t just look at the four walls of your office for support,” she advises. “Meeting other leaders can give you greater perspective and help you build your brand.” Other leaders echo this sentiment. Sue Schneider, principal at egamingbrokerage.com, encourages women to network, saying, “I like to encourage folks to get involved with trade associations and/or charitable activities. They typically offer great leadership training and a way to ‘shine’ among your colleagues.”
In a business world conventionally run by men, women will still need to seek out opportunities to gain experience and support in order to build their resumes. It is, however, clear that diversity is gaining momentum as female executives continue to take the reins.
As Shekinah Hoffman of AGA notes, “The desire for upward mobility and female empowerment within gaming is there. It’s what we do with it that matters.”
This article was originally printed in Emerging Leaders of Gaming 2nd Quarter ELG newsletter. To learn from about the ELG program, please visit www.theinnovationgroup.com/ emerging_leaders.asp. Jennifer Day is a senior analyst with the Innovation Group.