Carl Fritjofsson 8 March 2024

Shaping Balanced Organisations

At Creandum, we strive for equal representation in our internal teams, our portfolio companies, and in the wider tech ecosystem. One key initiative we created to encourage this movement is the Creandum Talent index that we have been running since 2018 (check out our reports from 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022) where we measured the gender distribution across our portfolio companies. In 2023, 56 of our portfolio companies participated, totalling over 6000 employees.

Transparency first: changes to the survey

With the objective of continuously growing and improving, we made some changes to the survey and interpretation of the results this year. 

We continue to look at gender distribution (men, women, other) across the organisation, management team and board (board members and observers), and added employee satisfaction (eNPS, see how it is calculated). Finally, we decided to start tracking the median across these categories instead of the average to avoid conclusions influenced by outliers and show a truer representation of our portfolio. 

In addition to distributing the survey, we included insights and tangible tips from a selection of our portfolio companies that are succeeding at attracting and developing a balanced workforce. 

Our findings

  • The percentage of women + others across organisations has decreased to 29% vs 31% in 2022 

  • 82% of the portfolio have at least one woman + other in the management team vs 73% in 2022 

  • 57% of the portfolio have at least one woman + other on the board vs 46% in 2022 

  • 29% of our investments in Creandum Fund VI had at least one woman + other founder

Women + others across the organisation

We aim to present an accurate view of our portfolio, but it's important to remember that the data may vary based on which companies respond to our survey each year. In the spirit of transparency, the first graph compares the average and median percentages of women + others across the entire organisation. In the rest of the article, we use the median to simplify our presentation.  

In 2023, the percentage of women + others was 29%, slightly lower than in 2021 and 2022. We recognise there is room for improvement, so we will continue working with our portfolio to attract a more varied pool of talent. Still, the 29% figure is above 2019 numbers and surpasses the European average, in which only 22% of tech roles are filled by women + others.  

Some tips on attracting diverse talent from the #Creandumfamily below... 

'Create a hiring loop with different gender interviewers, also requiring gender balance for final candidates.' Yuri Frayman (CEO and Co-founder, Cast AI)

'Use gender-balanced language in your job ads, there are a lot of great tools out there to check your job descriptions before they go live.' Tobias Taupitz (CEO and Co-founder, Laka)

'Ensure a flexible culture. In Meditopia, we know that family and health matters come first. So, we have "Compassionate Leave", a type of paid leave, which female employees can use to take their kids to school on their first day or accompany their elderly family members to the doctor.' Fulya Kardaşlar Taşkın (Chief People Officer, Meditopia

% women + others across the organisation

Women + others in management

In terms of management positions for women + others, in the last five years we have seen a 50% increase, signalling a positive shift towards balance at C-level position.

% women + others in management

82% of companies now include at least one woman + other in their management team, up from 73% the previous year. Additionally, the number of companies where women occupy at least 25% of management positions has risen to 55%. 37% of companies now have management teams comprised of at least one-third women. This is a positive development; when teams hire gender balanced teams early across the organisation and leadership, we tend to see that it becomes easier to attract more women + other employees to their organisations as they scale.  

% companies by number of women + others in management

'Provide flexible work schedules and remote work options to accommodate different needs, especially for working parents (...) Also, provide training / development opportunities for all employees, with a focus on creating pathways for women to advance into leadership positions.' Yuri Frayman (CEO and Co-founder, Cast AI)  

'It’s easier to hire great women when you already have great women in the team. Don’t ignore the issue until you’re a 15 person all-male company and realise it’s hard to hire any women.' Sasha Haco, (CEO and Co-founder, Unitary AI)

'We collaborate with NGOs where female candidates are mentored and women who have been on a career break are supported to come back to the workforce.' Fulya Kardaşlar Taşkın (Chief People Officer, Meditopia)

Women + others on the board

Echoing the positive developments of increased representation of women + others in management teams, we see the same happening on boards, with an increase of 60% since 2019.

% women + others on the board

57% of companies with a board have at least 1 woman + other on it; 31% of companies now have women occupying a quarter of board positions. This is a crucial factor when trying to attract more women + others to your organisations.

% companies by number of women + others on the board

Connecting gender representation with employee satisfaction

A new addition to this year’s survey was eNPS, a way for employees to feedback on satisfaction in their workplaces. Organisations with gender-balanced leadership reported higher levels of employee satisfaction. Firms with detractors in their workforce (those who are dissatisfied in their organisations) had just 17% of women + others in management. In companies with more promoters (those who are satisfied), the representation of women + others in management climbed to 40%.

eNPS by % women + others in management

Further advice from the portfolio

'Creating a balanced team requires deliberate action. Advertising roles outside your circles from the earliest days will help you avoid trends that will take more effort to undo at the later stages.' - Tobias Taupitz (CEO and Co-founder, Laka)  

'In specific gender dominated teams, leaders should choose the hard way and find ways of bringing in a different gender team member. Employee referral programs may encourage different gender candidate nominations.' - Fulya Kardaşlar Taşkın (Chief People Officer, Meditopia)

'Push recruiters to find diverse candidates. It’s their job! (…) When women (or other diverse candidates) reach out on LinkedIn about wanting to join Unitary, I often take the call.' - Sasha Haco (CEO and Co-founder, Unitary AI) 

Inside Creandum

It is imperative we reflect our values inside Creandum too. In 2021, we set targets interally to have a balanced organisation, with at least 40-60% across three aspects: checkwriters, the wider investment team and the Creandum organisation as a whole. Since then, the percentage of women across the organisation jumped from 41% to 55%, and we have almost reached our target of 40% women in the investment team. Although there is still room for improvement in our partner group with only 1 female partner, we reached our target of 40-60% balance across our checkwriters (Principals, Partners and General Partners).

% women + others in Creandum

Investing in balanced teams

We have also seen a steady growth in the number of women + other founding teams we have backed. In 2022, 21% of our investments had at least one woman + other in the founding team. By the end of 2023, the figure rose to 29%, not only surpassing our goal of 25% but also outperforming the overall picture in Europe. We know that this is merely a step in the right direction, and we will continue to improve our internal processes in order to to find and back the best talent building category defining companies across Europe.

% investments with at least one woman + other founder in Creandum's funds

Time to act

By seeking to make investments in balanced founding teams, sharing our lessons, and learning from our portfolio companies, we aim to inspire more organisations to join us on this journey. We created the Creandum Knowledge Bank, a public source with reports, tools and advice on how to create an equal culture.  

We are always looking for ways to continue learning. Do you have any recommendations for the Creandum Knowledge Bank? Get in touch and together let’s continue building organisations we are proud of.

Resources we recommend

Podcasts: The women in tech show, hosted by Edaena Salinas (software engineer at Microsoft) interviews engineers, female founders and investors talk about their work, moving beyond the conversation of what it's like to be a woman in the tech industry; She talks tech showcases inclusion stories, lessons learned and advice from top leaders in tech.

Courses: Code first girls offers different level courses to become a developer; Linkedin Learning offers a variety of courses to develop your skills, personalised for different career objectives.

Mentorship: Women in tech mentoring program is a program offered by Women Tech which looks to connect mentees with female role models; Meander is a platform for individuals and companies that connects learners with mentors to help them progress in their career.

Tools: TestGorilla, a pre-employment testing platform to fairly assess applicants skills and reduce bias; Pymetrics, a software designed for assessing candidate skills through games, utilising AI technology to eliminate bias.  

For unbiased job advertisements: Textio, Ongig, and Clovers.

Further
articles

Creandum Team
2023-03-22
A Guide to Crisis Communications
Anticipation and then communication is key
Michelle Coventry
2024-02-13
Founder Compensation 2.0
Insights from close to 700 founders on all things founder compensation
Michelle Coventry
2024-02-21
Pay Transparency
Navigating the tides of change in Europe and the US
Beata Klein
2023-03-28
Seed Data Room
Template by Creandum
Creandum Team
2024-01-24
Fundraising 101: the Outreach Template
How to optimise outreach to investors