New research from London-based venture fund Notion Capital confirms what we already know: More startups are becoming unicorns, but few have women at the helm.
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On Nov. 2, we reported that there are 630 private active unicorns in our database that have collectively raised more than $450 billion and are valued at just under $2 trillion. A “unicorn” is a company that reaches $1 billion in valuation.
At the same time, Notion reported that just 1 in 5 B2B tech unicorns include women on their leadership teams.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- Male leaders stay at unicorns twice as long as female leaders: The study found that the average tenure for female founders is just 1.78 years, while the average tenure for male leaders is 2.66 years.
- Unicorns with more female leaders boast more women in the entire organization: On average 21 percent of leaders at B2B unicorns are women, while women make up only 34 percent of the overall staff population.
- In the U.S., where paid maternity leave isn’t a legal right, unicorns that offer it have more female leaders and staff, and the female leaders stay longer.
On a positive note, Notion’s research showed that 23 percent of female leaders had been promoted into the senior teams of their organization versus 19 percent of men. And, if there was a pattern of promoting women into senior roles, women tended to stay longer at those companies: 1.68 years for women versus 1.44 years for men promoted to senior roles.
“During 2020 the conversations I’ve had around diversity and inclusion in the workplace have moved from ‘Why is it important to include everyone?’ to ‘We know it’s important to include everyone, but how can we include everyone?” Maddy Cross, talent director at Notion Capital, said in a written statement.
“I’m really hopeful that this research will be received as a guide to help leaders answer this question, so that the array of options they have, such as increasing the paid maternity leave that they offer, or setting diversity targets, becomes easier to navigate in terms of linking initiatives to outcomes,” added Cross, who led the research.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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