– 45 per cent of small and medium-sized companies consist only of men, while 15 per cent has only women. This means that 60 per cent of the companies has no representation from the opposite sex. It suggests that there are quite large misallocations in how we design our organizations, says Daniel Örtqvist, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology.
The result is part of a project funded by the County Administrative Board in Norrbotten, which aims to describe the conditions for small and medium companies in the north-program area. This includes Norrbotten County, the northern parts of Västerbotten County and the corresponding areas in Norway and Finland.
Gender imbalance casts dark shadow
Daniel Örtqvist want to point out that the research also contains many positive elements. The results show that a large share of the companies surveyed demonstrates high growth aspiration and that large investments are being made in many sectors. At the same time, the statistics on unequal gender distribution in companies is shocking.
– If we are to be an attractive region to move to and live in, we cannot only offer employment to one sex. This is an important issue for the future of Norrbotten, the society and Swedish economy.
Hoping for Change in 2020
The project includes two planned follow-up studies to be conducted until 2020. At the next measurement Daniel Örtqvist hopes to see a change in the gender distribution.
– It is difficult to make a major difference in a short time. However, we know that large-scale retirement waits in some sectors. My hope is that the problem is being phased out and that things are moving in a desired direction.