Can Women Lead European Consumer Electronics Companies?
The European consumer electronics industry, similar to the industry in the U.S., remains a largely male-dominated world. We see some positive trends in the retail environment, in that more women are in buyer’s roles, but most of the management meetings I attend show that women are still a small minority.
From a market and consumer perspective, this is strange, as women often have a decisive role in purchasing consumer electronics goods. Understanding the female buyer would suggest that women would have a clear advantage in finding leadership positions in consumer electronics, yet there remains a large gap.
So what are the necessary skills and traits for a path to a senior leadership role in the European consumer electronics world?
The consumer electronics world moves and changes at lightning speed so companies and leaders need to anticipate and adapt quickly. Success requires building strong teams who are empowered to make decisions. Women have a natural tendency to let their team members enjoy the limelight when they are successful and have their back when things go sour. This attitude builds strong and confident teams, and provides real leadership experience.
The industry still has a strong old-boy networking culture, and breaking through it is essential for women who want to have a good work life balance. Through perseverance, trust, honesty, and genuine interest in my suppliers and customers, I have built equally strong and warm personal relationships, resulting in long-term sustainable business.
With plenty of natural advantages, why do women continue to struggle to get to senior roles in this industry? One thing I have observed is that women tend to excel at their work and know their facts, yet stay within the boundaries of their role and responsibilities. I strongly encourage women to take the stretch role or identify issues that need to be resolved and apply themselves to creating a solution. Being proactive and showing initiative creates visibility, which is a critical step to get to the next level.
In conclusion, I definitely hope to see more women inspired to challenge the status quo and make the consumer electronics industry a more diverse world.