In June this year, the Swiss parliament approved the introduction of quotas in listed companies, requiring a minimum number of women to be on boards within the next 5-10 years:
|Position||Min % women||Period (years)|
|Board of directors||30||5|
The implementation date is not known yet, since a referendum could take place if 50,000 valid signatures are collected. Currently, there are no sanctions for failure to comply. Rather, a “comply or explain” approach requires non-compliant companies to explain how they plan to meet the quotas.
According to “The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management” report published by Credit Suisse (2014), greater diversity in boards and management is linked to higher returns on equity (ROE), higher premium price to book value (P/BV) and higher dividend payouts over time. Empirical evidence simply shows that having diversity on boards is good for business.
However, care needs to be taken to ensure that companies do not fall into the trap of “tokenism”, i.e. of appointing women merely to tick the box. Rather, they should see this as an opportunity to refine their management structures and build a sustainable talent pipeline with appropriate workplace structures and policies. To do this, employers will need to start adapting their mindsets and any unconscious bias to achieve change. Companies need to become more open to consider – and promote – female candidates with relevant transferable skills and competencies, beyond the few who have prior board experience.
Mandatory wage analysis
This August, the Federal Council announced amendments to reinforce equal pay laws. The new rules apply to organisations with 100 employees or more.
Employers’ triple obligations are shown in the timeline below.