Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) recently released an overview of data from its Gender Representation in Nutraceutical Industry Leadership Survey at Vitafoods Europe. According to WIN, the study findings confirmed the perception of inequality that was the impetus for developing the data, and comparable to corporate leadership in general and in similar industries.
According to the survey, smaller organizations had greater female representation in senior leadership, with 48 percent of companies <$10 million (U.S.) annual sales, medium size companies having 36 percent, and those in the >100 million (U.S.) group at 34 percent. Board representation showed less variation based upon size, with companies under $10 million reporting 25 percent female board members and those more than $100 million reporting 22 percent. Ethnic diversity lags in the C-suite as well, with 71 percent White, 16 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 5 percent Black and 4 percent Latin. The research, conducted by NEXT with financial support from Informa, included the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Outreach was conducted in December 2022 and January 2023.
The closest industry for comparison is the pharmaceutical & medical products space, where women make up 39 percent of vice president roles, 34 percent of senior vice presidents and 28 percent of C-suite, according to McKinsey & Company’s “Women in the Workplace 2022” report. Those figures are slightly higher than corporate figures overall; McKinsey puts representation of women at the vice president level at 32 percent, senior vice president at 28 percent and C-suite at 26 percent.
With the nutraceutical industry showing an average of 37 percent of senior leadership roles held by women, that’s a head start toward greater gender parity in our industry, according to the researchers. And there is a significant business benefit to doing so, with multiple business reports showing that gender diverse companies are significantly more successful. McKinsey & Co found a 48 percent performance differential between most and least gender diverse companies in executive leadership. Harvard Business Review found 21 percent increased likelihood that gender-diverse executive teams report above-average profitability. And Entrepreneur reported that diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets, increasing both performance and profits.
According to WIN, this research highlights the need for companies in the nutraceuticals industry to embrace gender equity to fill the leadership pipeline, starting at a critical step. For the eighth consecutive year, McKinsey reports that there is a “only 87 women promoted from entry-level to manager for every 100 men.” This lack of parity at the beginning of the management track creates a dearth of women candidates for promotion to senior leadership roles over time, WIN said.
Embracing gender parity in senior management is a particularly good opportunity for the nutraceutical industry given that consumer base remains majority female,” according to WIN. Having diversity of thought and experience in every part of the business—from product development into marketing and communication—can yield greater innovation and business growth.
WIN said that it will use this information and interviews with its members and sponsors to set goals on numbers of women in senior leadership and the C-suite, as well as programming and tools to help them get there. Further information about the survey results and opportunities ahead are available in a new whitepaper, which is free to WIN members.
For more information, visit https://womeninnutraceuticals.org.