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Women CEOs Experience Longer Tenures, Faster Growth

A new study in Massachusetts found that companies headed by women grow at twice the national average.
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Women CEOs are focused on long-term goals and have longer tenures than the average chief executive, according to a new study of top woman-led businesses  in Massachusetts.

Out of nearly 200 businesses surveyed across the region, women CEOs on average had led their companies as the senior decision-maker for 15 years, while just over two-thirds had founded the companies they now lead, according to a joint study released on Oct. 20 by Babson College  and the Commonwealth Institute, a Boston-based non-profit support group for women business leaders.

Their businesses, which covered a range of sectors -- from construction to pharmaceuticals to technology -- had average revenue last year of $54 million and employed some 120 workers, researchers said.

More than half had achieved an annual growth rate of 5 percent or more since 2004 -- nearly double the state and national average -- together generating a total of $10 billion and employing more than 21,000 workers last year, the study found.

When asked about their priorities for driving that growth, 80 percent of women CEOs surveyed identified expanding customer relationships ahead of aggressively pursuing new products, new geographic markets, or strategic alliances, the study found.

Another 77 percent said they sought input into the decision-making process through a participatory leadership style.

Nearly 98 percent gave to local charities and nonprofit organizations in their community, while about a third took part in philanthropic events at least once a month, the study found.

"Woman CEOs are outstanding role models for business success," Aileen Gorman, executive director of the Commonwealth Institute, said in a statement. "These CEOs value strong relationships with customers and employees and have made a key commitment to giving back to the community."

Gorman said the results show that "good business and doing good go hand in hand."

Last updated: Oct 31, 2006




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