AnchorWomen in Business: Are female leaders any different from male leaders? 

Despite a growing body of evidence showing that greater gender diversity at the executive level leads to improved organisational performance, women continue to be underrepresented in upper management. As of June 2018, only 29% of FTSE 100 executive director positions are held by women.

This whitepaper addresses why there is such a significant scarcity of female representation in leadership. 


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What does the whitepaper cover?

  • Does female and male leadership personality differ at the executive level? 

  • Do female and male leaders have differing levels of emotional intelligence? 

  • Is personality and emotional intelligence interpreted and recognised the same way for women and men? 

"These results provide evidence that debunk a lot of prevailing myths around female leadership and what leaders need to succeed"


Background to the study Thomas International ran a study incorporating two psychometric assessments which measure personality: the High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI) and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue). 

Results of the study The study came in two parts, the first looking at senior leadership and analysing whether female and male senior leaders differ in terms of the personality traits and levels of emotional intelligence they possess. The second part looked at the trends in data from Thomas International, to understand how personality and emotional intelligence supports the promotion of female and male employees to senior leadership. 

What contributes more; what you are or who you are? To what extent does personality contribute to helping men and women reach senior leadership? Is there a difference in the standards and characteristics for how male and female employees are judged when it comes to picking senior leaders? 

What are the actions and implications for organisations? This study highlights the need to improve gender diversity in the workplace, particularly at the senior level, and also how organisations identify and select the leaders. So what steps can you take to create a bias-free recruitment and development strategy? 

Meet the author

Carmen Amador Barreiro has been a Business Psychologist in the Product Development team at Thomas International since July 2018. She is responsible for designing psychometric solutions for clients both nationally and internationally, onboarding new global partners in their local languages and supporting the development and validation of existing and new products. Carmen has specific expertise in Emotional Intelligence and Employee Engagement as this was her main focus in her MSc thesis at University College London. Carmen is a registered member of the British Psychological Society, as well as the Association of Business Psychologists. 

Meet the author

Dr Luke Treglown is a part of Thomas International’s product development team. He is responsible for developing products and solutions that combine psychological science and data analytics and also leads academic and applied research projects to enhance our understanding how personality and behaviour predict tangible organisational objectives. He has a Ph.D in Organisational Psychology and has co-written a book based on his thesis, the concept of disenchantment in the workplace. 

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