New study ranks ways to improve female inclusion at B2B tech unicorns

The most effective way to increase female inclusion at B2B tech unicorns? Go public with your diversity goals

Going public with clear diversity goals is correlated with the highest levels of female inclusion within B2B tech Unicorns, says Notion Capital’s second in a series of two reports studying female inclusion in B2B tech Unicorns.

Second and third are having at least one female chief experience officer (CXO) and working with external community groups, respectively.

Which Diversity Measures Work?  compared firms that participate in diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives with those that do not, measuring four key areas that demonstrate female inclusion within a B2B tech Unicorn: the percentage of leaders in the company that are female; the percentage of the entire workforce that is female; the tenure of female leaders in years and the average Glassdoor score of each tech Unicorn. 

What works

The study concluded that Unicorns which publicly participate in a range of different D&I initiatives are more likely to attract a higher number of female staff and leaders, who are also more likely to stay with the firm for longer.

Maddy Cross, Talent Director at Notion Capital who led the research, said: “The study has shown that something as simple as setting diversity and inclusion goals and then publishing them can go a long way towards making progress.

“We generally wouldn’t expect a Unicorn to improve their product offering, tech stack or marketing efforts without setting company-wide goals, so it’s reassuring to see that more Unicorns apply the same logic to improving their D&I progress. “

Notion Capital ranked popular D&I initiatives in the following order based on how they positively correlate with female inclusion:

  1. Setting public diversity goals – This has the highest correlation with both the percentage of leaders and percentage of the workforce that are female.
  2. Having at least one female CXO – Firms that do this are more likely to see women in leadership roles have a tenure of over two years with the average tenure for women at B2B tech Unicorns being just 1.78 years versus the average for men which is 2.66 years.
  3. Working with external community groups – Firms that do this have twice as many women in leadership roles than firms that don’t.
  4. Publishing a diversity statement – Behind setting public D&I goals, this is the initiative that correlates highest with having more female leaders.
  5. Publishing the proportion of their staff that are female – Behind setting public D&I goals, this is the initiative that correlates highest with having a workforce with a larger female population.
  6. Having a dedicated head of diversity – Having a diversity head correlated with having the highest average Glassdoor score.
  7. The CEO/Founder making a public statement about diversity – Interestingly, on average, this initiative doesn’t impact female inclusion.
  8. Setting up internal community groups – While not having a large impact on female inclusion, this initiative is linked with a slight increase in the average proportion of female staff from 28% to 34%.

The role models

The report also highlighted the top three D&I initiatives that leading B2B tech Unicorns are implementing to ensure greater inclusivity in their organisations. 

Gusto, the payroll and benefits company, was the one firm identified as having implemented all three:

  1. Setting public diversity goals Gusto, Pendo, and GitLab are three of the B2B tech Unicorns that Notion identified as having published their diversity goals clearly and concisely.
  •  Having at least one female CXO – The report ranked the Unicorns studied who had a female CXO alongside the average tenure of their female CXOs. All were well about the average tenure for female leaders at B2B tech Unicorns which is 1.78 years. The top five were: Darktrace (3.74 years), Gusto (2.93 years), Intercom (2.47 years), Confluent (2.36 years) and Applovin (2.37 years).
  •  Working with external community groups – Slack, iZettle, Pendo, Gusto, Talkdesk and were just five of the Unicorns highlighted in the research that worked towards increasing female inclusion by partnering with groups such as Momentum Learning, Year Up and Ladycoders Conference. This allows them to create more pathways for diverse candidates to enter the B2B tech landscape. 

Cross continued her praise of the study, saying: “While there is a lot more to do in a heavily male-dominated sector, it is reassuring to see that leading B2B tech Unicorns like Slack, Gusto and Pendo are setting an example of how to increase female inclusion through the introduction of D&I measures.

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