How do you measure business success? Most of us could probably have a good go at naming what we believe to be the Top 10 most successful global entities, based in part on the business and consumer headlines that we see around us from week to week. But a quick Google search for the ‘most successful companies in the world’ throws up some interesting results.
For a start, none of the usual suspects from the tech world even make the Top 10. This is because the first result returned by Google is based on revenues – cold, hard cash collection – as opposed to market capitalisation, which is by its very nature a more growth-inspired, hope driven metric. You can see that holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, is notable for making both lists.
Dig a little deeper and the makeup of these companies becomes even more interesting: the boards are male dominated and four of the Asian companies have no women at board-level at all. Additionally, the average age for a board executives is 55. Berkshire Hathaway have the oldest average board age inclusive of a 95yr old member, while the youngest member of any board researched is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at 34.
Since most of these companies have clearly done well without significant female representation, one could argue that there is no need for more women, or indeed more young people in general, at senior company level. But again context comes into play. Because the world we have is the only world we know, and every single one of these companies is male dominated, is it possible that they could be capping their own business success, both in terms of overall revenues and market capitalisation, by stunting the diversity of their senior workforce?
As a global community, the world has made significant strides in recent years across areas such as social equality, technological advancement, borderless trade, and international co-operation, yet are markets remain locked in traditional economic cycles of boom and bust. Particularly in an age when women and young people now have greater spending power, companies may well find that increased diversification is where the next round of global economic growth is going to come from.