There might be obstacles standing between some women and their dream jobs, but those prejudices are based on nothing more than myth. In fact, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published in the Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, gender diversity in the workplace increases the productivity of the entire office.
“Having a more diverse set of employees means you have a more diverse set of skills,” Sara Ellison, senior lecturer in economics, said in a statement. “[This] could result in an office that functions better.”
The researchers reviewed revenue data and self-reporting survey results from more than 60 domestic and international workplaces between 1995 and 2002. The researchers included both all-male and all-female offices, which they noted were the outliers among the selected offices.
In fact, a transition from an office dominated entirely by one gender to a workplace with an even split could increase overall revenue by as much as 41 percent.
Ellison compared a homogenous office space to a baseball team comprised of only catchers. Because the team shares similar interests and skills, they get along well and do an excellent job at catching pitches. However, a team like this isn’t suited for playing baseball, no matter how good each individual catcher may be.
Studies in the past have focused on the satisfaction of employees in mixed- and nonmixed-gender workplaces, but Ellison believes that her study is the first of its kind to codify the link between financial performance and diverse offices.
Hiring managers everywhere should consider adding more diversity to the workplace, while moms looking to get back into the field should be encouraged to know that they’re doing their part to increase the company’s efficiency and shouldn’t feel shy about opting into the workforce, even if they’re the only woman in the office .