How sponsorship is helping companies bridge the “gender gap”.
Although women are better educated than ever before and often start their careers as equally qualified as men, they still lag men when it comes to career progression and making it into the leadership ranks of corporates. Women in the U.S. occupy around half of management, professional and related occupations, according to Catalyst, but only 14% of executive officer positions. It’s a similar story across the globe.
Mentoring was long the reputed answer to this ‘gender gap’. Sociologists Frank Dobbin, Alexandra Kalev and Erin Kelley have researched corporate diversity management programs across America and found that women at companies with formal mentoring programs and diversity councils do succeed, in general, in advancing to more senior positions.
Other experts have gone a step further. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and author of the book Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, argues that mentoring is not enough; it needs be augmented by sponsorship. A mentor gives advice and feedback, but expects little in return. By contrast, a sponsor has skin in the game. Because sponsors believe in their protégés’ long-term potential, they openly advocate for them and give them the room to take risks and shine. Hewlett sums it up: “Mentors give, whereas sponsors invest.”
Credit Suisse launched the Credit Suisse LGBT Equality Portfolio the first-ever product that allows clients to invest in companies with LGBT-friendly policies.
This June saw not one but two watershed moments in the struggle for gay rights in America. In separate rulings that month, the Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California and also struck down the widely reviled Defense of Marriage Act. But long before those decisions—perhaps even paving the way for them—a quieter gay rights battle was being won in the American workplace, as a growing number of companies today are paying attention to treating their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees the same way as their straight peers.
In fact, the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index—which rates companies on their treatment of LGBT employees—saw 252 companies score a perfect 100 in 2013. When the advocacy group launched this Index in 2002, only 13 companies did.
All of this hasn’t happened by chance. HRC, for starters, has provided companies with a roadmap on how to achieve equality. Additionally, over the last decade, consumers who care about LGBT rights have been using the HRC index to learn about companies supportive of LGBT-friendly policies. But investors haven’t had an easy option for doing something similar, such as purchasing an investment vehicle comprised solely of high-performing, LGBT-friendly companies.
Global Trends and Investment Opportunities: Resilience and Rebound on the Agenda
Top global investors and corporate leaders gathered together recently in Hong Kong for the 16th annual Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC). Led by a stellar line-up of speakers, the event—which took place between March 18 and 22—provided a forum for debate and exchange of insights on key issues on the global economic and investment agenda.
The event emphasized how the Asia-Pacific region continues to provide opportunities for investors to participate in pivotal stages of country and industry development that do not appear to exist elsewhere. Top discussion highlights included key trends shaping the region and the world today, including emerging markets investing, online opportunities in China, and the future of the Eurozone, among others.
Emerging Investment Trends
Among the select group of thought-leaders from around the globe participating in the AIC, Laurence Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, observed that the world had changed fundamentally since the 2008 financial crisis, as lower growth and depressed yields are making it much more challenging for investors to generate returns. Watch Mr. Fink discuss four megatrends of which investors should be aware, and the markets that provide the best potential growth opportunities.