Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

Beating the Bias – Women in Leadership

From tech giant IBM appointing its first female CEO in 2011 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences increasing the share of women on the board, there’s no doubt women are breaking the glass ceiling in the world of business. In fact, the RAJA Group itself was founded as a two-woman company as far back as 1954. But as we move into a new decade, how much further do we have to go before gender equality in the workplace is truly equal?

In 2017, we challenged the notion of gender bias by unpacking the new female industrialists and speaking to a number of women making their mark in traditionally male-dominated industries. This International Women’s Day, we’re going one step further and taking a look at how far women have come in the fight for leadership positions and what work still needs to be done in 2020 and beyond.

Women in leadership: the current situation

In 2018, McKinsey’s Delivering through Diversity report showed the statistical significance of diversity in leadership. When it came to women in executive positions, the study confirmed that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.[1]

Yet according to our research, businesses are still failing to utilise the benefits that women can bring to leadership roles. The Office for National Statistics’ annual population survey shows that in 2010, only 34% of Managerial, Directorial or Senior Official positions within the UK were occupied by women. A decade on (with research up to 2018), this has only increased by a disappointing 1 percentage point to 35%.

This is particularly shocking when stats show us that over 50% of the UK population is comprised of women, making it even more conclusive that the ratio of women to men in leadership roles is not representative of the society that we live in.

A breakdown of women in leadership by sectors

A breakdown of women in leadership by sectors

By looking into the employment sectors stated by the ONS within the UK, we were able to dissect the data in more detail through the following categories: Agriculture and Fishing, Energy and Water, Manufacturing, Construction, Distribution, Hotels & Restaurants; Transport & Communication; Banking, Finance & Insurance etc.; and Public Admin, Education & Health.

The data shows that in half of the given sectors, less than a quarter of leaders are female. The sectors with the poorest performance in terms of female leadership are Construction (16% of leaders are women), Energy & Water (19%), Manufacturing (22%) and Transportation & Communication (24%). In addition, Banking, Finance & Insurance has historically been known for its Wolf of Wall Street-esque setting. And, although this 80’s depiction is a far cry from what it is today, it is troubling to see that still, only 34% of leaders in the sector are women. In fact, the only sector where more women currently hold these roles is within Public Admin, Education & Health at 57%.

Though all but one of the sectors included has seen an incremental increase in women in leadership positions from a holistic view from 2010 onwards, there is sadly still a low representation in traditionally male-dominated sectors, and in fact, most traditionally female-dominated sectors, too.

So, what can we do next?

Despite initiatives to promote equality in the workplace being championed across many businesses in recent times, there is still work to be done. In fact, a recent review of FTSE leaders shows results that are not only disheartening but shocking, too. Within the FTSE 100, around two thirds of all available leadership roles are occupied by men and, as of 2019, only seven of those CEOs were female[2][3]

So, what can all companies – big and small – do to ensure that we are beating the bias and benefitting from women leadership in every workplace? Here are just three ways we can do this:

  1. Transparency: By being transparent about diversity goals, we can show current employees and potential candidates that we are taking steps in the right direction. It means having measurable goals that tie into individuals, teams and groups, rather than just playing a numbers game for the sake of compliance. For example, it is not gender diversity if your workforce is proportionate, but you have an all-male board.
  1. Eliminating unconscious bias: Though we may not mean to be consciously bias towards women, a history of workplace prejudice has embedded a lot of stereotypes that mean we may not even know we are being influenced by. The best way to ensure this is controlled is to have rules in place that make processes subjective, from applications to training, reviews and promotions – particularly for leadership roles. 
  1. Modernity: By being open to reworking policies so they are inclusive – from flexible hours to modified work schedules – we can make certain we have the top pool of talent, rather than ruling certain demographics out. A lot of traditionally male-dominated industries have inflexible timetables but finding common ground which is geared towards a wider group of people will help businesses go a long way.

From striking for equal pay to securing classification as skilled workers, women have taken great strides in the fight for workplace equality. Yet sadly, there is still a perception that certain industries and roles are only suitable for men.

On Sunday 8th March 2020, we will be celebrating how far our society has come in terms of gender equality in the workplace, whilst also thinking about how we can continue to push for progress. To learn more, head over to our interviews with the inspirational women who are packing away stereotypes in corporate culture and showing value in male-dominated industries.

[Methodology: This research was conducted by analysing the Annual Population Workplace Analysis survey from The Office for National Statistics to work out the population of males vs females in Manager, Director and Senior Official positions within the UK. This uses their data ranging from 2010 to 2018.]

[1]https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Business%20Functions/Organization/Our%20Insights/Delivering%20through%20diversity/Delivering-through-diversity_full-report.ashx

[2]https://ftsewomenleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/HA-Review-Report-2019.pdf

[3]https://www.statista.com/statistics/685208/number-of-female-ceo-positions-in-ftse-companies-uk/

Inside Rajapack: A history of the RAJA Group

In 1954, Rachel Marcovici and Janine Rocher laid the foundations for the international company that we now know as the RAJA group. What started as a two-woman company in struggling post-war France has grown into a multi-national packaging giant, with subsidiaries in 14 countries across Europe. As of 2015 they have an annual turnover of 440 million euros and employ 1600 people.

Do you know where the name ‘RAJA’ actually comes from? Or how many copies of the first ever Rajapack catalogue were printed?  To answer all this and more, we’ve taken a look at how Cartons RAJA grew into the RAJA Group, and how they spread its roots across Europe and into the UK.

Rachel Marcovici
1954
– Cartons RAJA, whose name come from an amalgamation of the first two letters of each founding member’s first name: RAchel and JAnine, begins life under the shadow of the Eiffel tower. Starting with just one shop, Cartons RAJA specialise in recycled cardboard boxes, as they are cheaper to buy than brand new ones.

Late 1950s – In a period where France was still recovering from the World War 2, the low prices of these recycled cardboard boxes, coupled with the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of Rachel Marcovici, means RAJA Cartons quickly flourish. The company expand to include new product lines, have ten employees and boast a turnover of one million francs (around £14,640 in today’s pound sterling).Danielle Marcovici

1962 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici (President-Director of RAJA in 2015), daughter of Rachel Marcovici, begins working as a sales rep for the company at the age of 16. She would go on to stay in that post for the next 10 years.

 Catalogue1975 – The catalogue era begins. Cartons RAJA’s advertising department release their first ever product catalogue; a 24 page, black and white brochure which highlights 365 products. 10 copies are printed.

1982 – Danièle Kapel-Marcovici becomes Managing Director of Cartons RAJA, stepping up from her role as Sales and Marketing Director which she had held for the previous 4 years. Over the next 10 years, she would optimise the operations of the entire company, structuring all activities around key strategic teams such as purchasing, catalogue sales, product marketing, accounts, logistics, IT and human resources.  Her work pays off as Cartons RAJA pioneer the direct selling of packaging materials.

1990 – Cartons RAJA drop the ‘Cartons’ from their name and rename themselves: RAJA.

1992 – The company’s turnover grew to 316 million francs (almost 5 times what it had been 10 years previously). They employ 190 people.Rajapack Website

1994 – 2000 – RAJA becomes an international company by developing subsidiaries in Holland and Germany as well as purchasing BINPAC in Belgium and AID-PACK in the UK.

AID-PACK, which will later become RAJAPACK UK, are specialists in strapping. When AID-PACK are purchased in 1998, they have sales of £2 million.

2001 – RAJA create their digital offering and continue to develop their multi-channel marketing and sales strategy with the creation of their first online store (www.raja.fr).

2002 – Rajapack UKremain a catalogue-sales focussed organisation but move into the digital space with the creation and launch of their own website.

 2003 – 2012 – European expansion continues with the creation of subsidiaries in Spain, Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden.

RAJA in Europe

2015 – RAJA purchase Morplan; a major player in the distance selling of supplies and equipment to the UK retail sector.

The story of the RAJA Group continues to grow and is led by the people who work here.

Our staff are determined to keep the company moving forward, providing quality service and packaging products to our customers. Because of this, our staff retention record is an enviable one. Recently, 9 of our staff, ranging from warehouse workers to the Head of Customer Marketing, were awarded for long service to the company of 10 years or more.

The values that RAJA Group was built upon; empowering women and sustainability, still apply today. The RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation, created under the aegis of the Fondation de France in 2006, support community projects for women in France and around the world.

We also put a large focus on environmentally friendly packaging, just like RAJA Cartons did when they started selling second hand cardboard boxes to Parisians way back in 1954.

The RAJA Group has now been supplying packaging materials for customers at competitive prices for over 60 years, a fact that we are very proud of.  Our long history and heritage have taught us to always keep the customer at the forefront of everything we do.

Helping Communities – Celebrating International Women’s Day

The Raja-Daniele Marcovici Foundation

“The entire Raja Group marches for women’s rights!”

Raja Group employees marched for international women's day.

To help and support this year’s International Women’s Day, all employees across the 18 companies under the Raja Group umbrella have taken part in a week long mobilisation for Women’s rights.

All 1500 employees were given a free pedometer for the campaign, organised by the Raja-Daniele Marcovici Foundation, with the goal of achieving 15 million steps.

The attempt was made in support of the Life Project 4 Youth charity, which is currently helping young mothers in the slums of Manila and Jakarta. The charity helps young people living in these slums  build better futures for themselves and their families.

Since 2009, 500 young people have been supported by the Life Project 4 Youth, but with many living in vulnerable conditions in these slums, the charity is in vital need of help and support from organisations such as the Raja-Daniele Marcovici foundation.

That is why we are proud to announce that the Raja Group have incredibly met that goal of 15 million steps and therefore a generous donation of €15,000 has been gifted to the LP4Y by the foundation.

The Life Project 4 Youth charity at work.

This is an incredible amount of money for a charity which does such important work in some of the toughest environments in the world. To put it into context, 15 million steps between 1500 people equates to an average of 10,000 steps (5 miles) per person.

However, The Raja-Daniele Marcovici Foundation’s support of the Life Project 4 Youth charity has not started and finished with the March for Women’s Rights week. Since 2012, the foundation has supported two centres which specialise in the education and support of young, unmarried mothers.

In that time, the centres have helped over 50 young mothers to learn key entrepreneurial and production skills which will allow them to have control over their lives and build futures for themselves and help lift the communities out of poverty.

About the Raja-Daniele Marcovici Foundation 2006-2015

Founded in 2006 on the initiative of Daniele Kapel-Marcovici, CEO of the Raja Group, the Raja- Daniele Marcovici Foundation supports community projects for women in France and around the world. It campaigns for women’s rights, the fight against violence against women, education and training, professional and social integration.

To find out more about the work of the Life Project 4 Youth, watch the video below.