Cantillon: Harty International MD says gender quotas aren’t the way to go

The factors that have led to such a high level of inequality must also be considered

Research has shown that only nine per cent of publicly listed companies in Ireland have at least one female board member

Research has shown that only nine per cent of publicly listed companies in Ireland have at least one female board member

Tue, May 14, 2013, 01:00

Enforcing gender quotas on corporate boards may cause job losses, the managing director of executive search firm Harty International has said.

Calling on corporations and Government officials to work together to find a solution to the disparity that exists between male and female corporate board members in Ireland, John Harty said the factors that have led to such a high level of inequality must also be considered.

Research has shown that only nine per cent of publicly listed companies in Ireland have at least one female board member, compared to 15.8 per cent in Europe. In light of this the EU is has proposed that publicly listed companies aim to have 40 per cent of their boards made up by women by 2020.

This has led to calls for legally binding corporate gender quotas in Ireland.

However, Mr Harty believes that such a knee jerk reaction could have severe consequences for business in Ireland and would be detrimental to the economy overall.

“In this era of austerity, selecting the very best executives is a must if a business is to survive. Failure to do so can result poor strategic direction for a plc, resulting in over spending, under selling or poorly executed strategies.”