Startups

For greater corporate wealth, have more XX make up in executive leadership

Women physicians still get paid a lot lower than their XY-chromosome counterparts a new report finds while a panel discussion tries to answer how to move the needle in gender and ethnic diversity in healthcare management roles.

And the latest, depressing statistics are in.

The second annual physician compensation report from Doximity — the social network for physicians —shows that if you are of the XX chromosome in the United States, you will still make quite a bit less than your male counterparts.  More specifically, in 2017, women made an average of 27.7 percent less than men (or $105,000 less). San Francisco-based Doximity said the report is based on more than 65,000 verified U.S. physician respondents.

While wages increased 4 percent per the report, what is even more startling is that the gender gap in compensation seems to have widened. In 2016, women made an average of 26.5 percent less than men (or $91,284 less). Further, women physicians made less than their male counterparts in all 50 metropolitan areas that were part of the report. All of this flies against the fact that diverse teams actually lead to better financial performance than those that are ahem, plain vanilla.

The gap in pay is not limited to just in healthcare or the occupation of physicians alone. The malaise is a phenomenon across the corporate world. That data was shared last week at an evening event in San Francisco organized by How Women Lead where a panel was convened with the aim of moving the needle toward greater gender and ethnic diversity in healthcare management roles. The slide below is courtesy of CSweetner, an organization co-founded by Lisa Suennen, managing director of GE Ventures and Lisa Serwin, a consultant, to help more women join the C-suite and adopt board roles.

The above data is based on a McKinsey report. Meanwhile, profit-minded corporations might want to look at a separate McKinsey report released earlier this year shows that “gender diversity on executive teams is strongly correlated with profitability and value creation.” And here’s the data to prove that.

So how to convince companies to make their executive team less white and less male?

At the panel in San Francisco, the chief human resources officer of Dignity Health advocated for a “pull” as opposed to a “push” strategy most often seen in development programs common to many large corporations created for women and minorities.

“I can tell you that you need to have a diversity in your hiring process …but I am pushing you to do something and I am long past being the HR police,” Darryl Robinson, EVP at Dignity, said to a gathered audience of mostly women. “So I don’t want a push strategy. What we’re trying to figure out is how do I to pull you to me to help you do what you feel like you need to do. It’s not necessarily sponsorship and advocacy. If I show you, your numbers are X and your peers are Y but the goal is Z and then I go into how to get to Y and Z and I make it significant for you, now I have your attention. And you will call me and say, ‘Darryl, I want to go from X to Y to Z.'”

In other words, executive leadership teams need to have a measurable and achievable path to get to better gender and ethnic representation in corporations. But more importantly, the urgency of changing the gender and ethnic makeup of a corporation needs to be felt as acutely in the executive suite as within the walls of HR.

California Life Sciences Institute meanwhile is seeing some interesting results from its FAST advisory program meant to jumpstart the commercialization strategy of under-the-radar life sciences startups in the state. Although intended to help all startups, the nonprofit has found 50 percent of the companies that have graduated from the 12-week FAST program are startups with women leaders.

“Over four years into it we’ve had 50 companies graduate who have collectively raised over $328 million. Fifteen of them have Series A investments. Nine of them have strategic partnerships. Three have had acquisitions,” rattled off Lori Lindburg, CEO of the nonprofit group. “When we say that to investors, their jaws drop. Another really fabulous statistic about it we are seeing is that 50 percent of the startups in FAST have women in the C-suite and most of  them as CEOs and founders.”

The moderator of the panel, Suennen from GE Ventures, expressed amazement at the gender breakdown of the FAST group remarking that very few VC portfolios have more than a handful women-led startups.

“So how, do you get to 50-50,” she asked Lindburg.

“Well, we are choosing the best companies,” Lindburg shot back to laughter and applause.

Correction: An earlier version of the story identified Lindburg as the CEO of the California Life Sciences Association. Lindburg is CEO of the California Life Sciences Institute, which is affiliated with the California Life Sciences Association.