Sodexo’s Gender Balance Study 2018: Expanded Outcomes Over 5 Years

The goal of Sodexo’s Gender Balance Study was to expand previous research on the business case for women in leadership to the business case for parity in representation of men and women in management positions (“gender balance”). The study therefore aimed to test the performance implications of a gender-inclusive work culture, as opposed to a culture in which one gender dominates over the other.

Furthermore, Sodexo’s study took a broader approach by examining women across all levels of management—not just upper-level leadership positions. This wider lens was designed to shed light on the “pipeline” that will ultimately affect gender balance at the top tier of leadership.

Data was collected and analyzed from over 50,000 managers from 70 entities worldwide. Management teams from a diverse range of functions, ranging from top leadership to site management, were all included.

In an effort to build upon previous studies by Catalyst, McKinsey and other agencies that have largely focused on financial performance indicators, both financial and non-financial business indicators were examined as outcomes of gender balance in management. Sodexo’s previous research suggests that the optimal outcomes are evidenced when management teams have a gender ratio of 40% – 60% women, and this ratio was used in the current study to define gender-balanced management.


Sophie Bellon, Chairwoman, Sodexo Board

“We believe that gender balance fosters creativity and innovation, and ultimately drives better business results. When women reach their full potential, business and society are stronger and more successful.”

- Sophie Bellon, Chairwoman, Sodexo Board

Denis Machuel, Chief Executive Officer, Sodexo“Gender diversity is essential. It is beyond a moral obligation—it’s a business imperative and differentiator. At Sodexo, greater diversity and inclusiveness are part of a cultural transformation that requires time and humility.”

- Denis Machuel, Chief Executive Officer, Sodexo


Sodexo’s Gender Balance Study 2018 Infographic

The Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life

The Sodexo Institute for Quality of Life

An in-house ‘think-tank’ inspired by Sodexo’s conviction that improving Quality of Life leads to the progress of individuals and contributes to the performance of organisations.