Study reveals more is needed for gender parity in nutraceuticals

Published: 15-May-2023

Presented by WIN President Heather Granato at Vitafoods Europe, the study confirmed the "perception of inequality", similar to other industries

Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN), the non-profit spearheaded by a cohort of global nutraceutical leaders, released an overview of benchmark data from WIN’s Gender Representation in Nutraceutical Industry Leadership Survey, presented by WIN President Heather Granato at Vitafoods Europe. What the study found confirmed the perception of inequality that was the impetus for developing the data, and comparable to corporate leadership in general and in similar industries.

The study found that smaller organisations had greater female representation in senior leadership, with 48% of companies US100M group at 34%. Board representation showed less variation based upon size, with companies under $10M reporting 25% female board members and those over $100M reporting 22%. Ethnic diversity lags in the C-suite as well, with 71% White, 16% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5% Black, and 4% Latin. This research, conducted by NEXT with financial support from Informa, included the US, Europe, and Asia. Outreach was conducted in December 2022 and January 2023.

The closest industry for comparison is the pharmaceutical and medical products space, where women make up 39% of VP roles, 34% of SVPs and 28% of C-suite, according to McKinsey & Company’s ‘Women in the Workplace 2022’ report. Those figures are slightly higher than corporate figures overall; McKinsey puts representation of women at the VP level at 32%, SVP at 28%, and C-suite at 26%. 

With the nutraceutical industry showing an average of 37% of senior leadership roles held by women, that’s a head start toward greater gender parity in our industry. And there is a significant business benefit to doing so, with multiple business reports showing that gender diverse companies are significantly more successful.

For the eighth consecutive year, McKinsey reports that there is a only 87 women promoted from entry-level to manager for every 100 men

McKinsey & Co found a 48% performance differential between most and least gender diverse companies in  executive leadership. Harvard Business Review found 21% increased likelihood that gender-diverse executive teams report above-average profitability. And Entrepreneur reported that diverse companies are better positioned to capture new markets, increasing both performance and profits.

This research highlights the need for companies in the nutraceuticals industry to embrace gender equity to fill the leadership pipeline, starting at a critical step. For the eighth consecutive year, McKinsey reports that there is a only 87 women promoted from entry-level to manager for every 100 men. This lack of parity at the beginning of the management track creates a dearth of women candidates for promotion to senior leadership roles over time.

Embracing gender parity in senior management is a particularly good opportunity for the nutraceutical industry given that consumer base remains majority female. Having diversity of thought and experience in every part of the business—from product development into marketing and communication—can yield greater innovation and business growth.

Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) will use this information and interviews with its members and sponsors to set goals on numbers of women in senior leadership and the C-suite, as well as programming and tools to help them get there. Further information about the survey results and opportunities ahead are available in a new whitepaper, which is free to WIN members.

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