Companies with more women in leadership positions are likely to experience better financial performance, according to the CEO of non-profit organization Women Who Code.
Speaking to CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Friday, International Women’s Day, Alaina Percival said companies have a “fiscal responsibility” to seek a gender balance in their top ranks.
“Companies experience a higher (return on investment) when they have women represented at the board, at the executive level, and on teams in general. So really, companies have a fiscal responsibility to have balance because it’s better,” Percival said.
Her sentiment is echoed by research from New York-based index company MSCI. According to a 2015 study from the firm, companies with “strong female leadership” generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent every year, compared to 7.4 percent for companies without.
For that research, “strong” representation was defined as a company’s board having three or more women, or the board’s percentage of women exceeding the country average.
The challenge of tech
Gender balance is especially important for the tech sector, Percival said. Companies need to take “aggressive measures to adopt best practices,” she added, saying that could include equipping women with skills and knowledge required to enter the technology workforce.
“What we’re going to be seeing is every industry becomes a technology industry. Looking forward, 10, 15, 20 years from now, having a technical background and an understanding of technical knowledge will be a basic foundation that executives need to have to lead the company,” she said.
Yet even as companies are starting to see the increasing importance of equal gender representation, Percival said the message is “getting through slowly.”
“Companies understand that they need to be making change — but most companies don’t understand how to accomplish that yet,” she said. Organizations have not built up the necessary budget to really see a big change, she added.
However, Percival acknowledged that it would take time for the results to show, and for women to be well-represented in the technology sector.
“Change also takes time, because it’s not just the number of people you hire, or the way that you’re paying,” she said. “It’s also the culture inside the company and inside of society.”
Companies added 213,000 jobs this month, the ADP and Moody’s Analytics data show. Economists polled by Refinitiv expected payrolls to grow by 178,000.
The strong jobs growth comes even after the longest U.S. government shutdown in history.
“The job market weathered the government shutdown well. Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls,” says Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics.
Private payrolls grew in January at a much faster pace than expected as the labor market shrugged off the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, according to data released Wednesday by ADP and Moody’s Analytics.
“The job market weathered the government shutdown well. Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “As long as businesses hire strongly, the economic expansion will continue on.”
Medium-sized businesses, those that employ 50 to 499 people, led the charge by adding 84,000 payrolls. Large businesses, which have at least 500 employees, expanded their head count by 66,000. Small businesses added 63,000 jobs.
The services sector contributed the lion’s share of the jobs this month, with 145,000 jobs being added. Within the services sector, jobs in professional and business services grew by 46,000 while education and health services payrolls expanded by 38,000. The goods-producing sector, which includes construction, mining and manufacturing, added 68,000 jobs.
Wednesday’s report comes two days ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Economists expect the government’s tally to show a gain of about 168,000 jobs for January.
THE U.S. ECONOMY ADDED 304,000 NON-FARM PAYROLLS IN THE FIRST MONTH OF 2019, AHEAD OF CONSENSUS EXPECTATIONS OF 165,000
Yahoo Finance February 1, 2019
The January jobs report shows the U.S. labor market is still chugging along.
The U.S. economy added 304,000 non-farm payrolls in the first month of 2019, ahead of consensus expectations of 165,000.
December’s number, however, was revised down to 222,000 from 312,000 previously.
Nevertheless, the net gains in jobs was stronger than expected. Following Friday’s jobs report, the new three-month average for job gains in the U.S. stands at about 241,000, up from 231,000 following December’s revised reading.
The unemployment rate rose to 4.0%, largely due to the government shutdown, which had government workers identifying themselves as temporarily laid off. December’s unemployment rate was left unchanged at 3.9%. The rise in January’s unemployment rate was also due in part to an increase in the labor force participation rate, which climbed to 63.2% from 63.1% in December. January’s participation level marks the highest since 2013.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% over December and 3.2% over last year. This compares to consensus estimates of a 0.3% increase and 3.2% increase, respectively, for January average hourly earnings. In December, wage growth increased 0.4% month-over-month and 3.3% year-over-year, after revisions. Hourly earnings are closely watched as a key gauge of inflation, and January’s average month-over-month hourly wage gain represents the slowest climb since October 2017.
The strong economy continues to add jobs, while inflation continues to be very low. This gives the Fed significant flexibility to be patient with future interest rate hikes, as had been their stated approach based on their most recent policy decision earlier this week. Fed officials in their policy statement Wednesday noted that inflation pressures were “muted.”
The labor market has by-and-large been a bright spot for the U.S. economy even as concerns ratcheted up over slowing international economic growth. In its latest policy statement Wednesday, the Fed also characterized labor market conditions as “strong,” while downgrading its assessment of the broader domestic economic activity from “strong” to “solid.”
“On the heels of a strong January this is another win for the bulls, and could help keep the momentum going,” said Mike Loewengart, VP of investment strategy for E-Trade Financial Corporation. “Fundamentals are standing strong—they haven’t seen their shadow just yet.”
Strong unemployment data could also translate into solid retail sales results on Monday, Loewengart added. And larger purchases – such as home sales – could get a lift based on unemployment levels and the Fed’s indications that they may pause rate hikes.
“For now it looks like we are back in a sweet spot of strong economic fundamentals and a dovish Fed,” Loewengart said.
Many economists noted that January’s results could contain some “noise” due to impact from the 35-day partial government shutdown. For the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ establishment survey – which produces data on non-farm payrolls, earnings and hours worked – furloughed workers were counted as employed since their back pay was guaranteed.
For household survey data – including results for household employment, unemployment and labor force participation – furloughed workers who were not working for the BLS survey’s entire reference week were counted either as unemployed or temporarily laid off.
According to the BLS, the impact of the shutdown had some effect on January’s results. “Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, edged up in January,” the BLS said in a statement. “The impact of the partial federal government shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures. Among the unemployed, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000.”
However, the BLS added, “There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours and earnings from the establishment survey.”
The protracted partial government shutdown did add weight to Friday’s jobs report as it impacted the release timing of other critical economic data used to inform market participants and policymakers. A first reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product, for instance, was due for release this week, but has been delayed since a host of data that factors into the index has not been available due to the shutdown. Recent data on personal income and spending, durable-goods orders, retail sales and housing starts have also not yet been released.