Yes, according to speakers at the Must do Better talk hosted by Dezeen and RIBA earlier this year. Research by global management consultant, McKinsey & Company, directly links diversity with business success, and demonstrates that companies with better gender diversity in senior positions outperform those with lower levels of diversity.
But, according to Dezeen’s gender survey, women still occupy just 10% of the top jobs at leading architecture firms, while 16 firms have no women at all in senior positions. Within the South African context, the picture isn’t much brighter: according to Property24, only 21% of South African architects are women. On top of this, the gender pay gap remains high and the entry of black women into the industry is relatively low in a profession still dominated by white men.
Architecture firms who do not embrace gender diversity are “missing out”, said Alexandra Hagen, CEO of Swedish studio White Arkitekter. “Inequality is bad for business and bad for the economy.”
This sentiment is reinforced by McKinsey & Company’s research.
“(In 2014) companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their executive teams were 15% more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile on profitability,” explained Sundiatu Dixon-Foyle, who leads on inclusion and diversity at Mckinsey & Company.