The Next 40 examined and ranked by Spike in light of gender inequalities, it is a great debut that challenges publish exclusively. “We wanted to go beyond the talk about fundraising for start-ups, exploring their human resources data”, sums up Ruben Arnold, associate director of this recruitment company that carried out the Next 40 Talent Index 2022 study. world of start-ups with a fresh and original look.
“To carry out this study, we explored 30,000 profiles on LinkedIn between February and April 2022, public data but little used”, summarizes the manager. The former McKinsey France man, whose recruiting division he ran, founded Spike with a colleague who also worked at the consulting giant, Emilie Noël. “I’ve been interested in the issue of diversity for about ten years,” he says. Having branched out into start-ups for a few years, I’ve seen that there are far fewer women than men at the helm, I know behind the scenes.”
The sexism of the “start-up nation” often pointed out
By dissecting the Next 40, Bercy’s annual selection as part of French Tech to highlight the most successful French startups, Spike sheds light and broadens the debate. So far, this has boiled down to the CEO issue. None of these companies being headed by a woman, although the CAC 40 has become more feminized with Christel Heydemann (Orange), Catherine MacGregor (Engie) or Estelle Brachlianoff (Veolia), the sexism of the “start-up nation” has often been highlighted. . Everyone remembers Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the United States in early December, surrounded by all-male stars of French technology, including Back Market bosses (21th from the Spike ranking), Ynsect (19th) or even Deezer (8th🇧🇷
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Women are there, however, the study carried out by Spike clearly indicates: they represent 46.6% of the workforce – almost parity, therefore – but only 26.8% of top managers, or 1,469 managers identified by the study. “To establish your list, we list all leaders with a title of ‘executive director’ or ‘president,'” says Ruben Arnold. They represent 5% of all employees.” The companies featured in the 2022 Next 40 promotion could thus be analyzed through the prism of the diversity of their teams. And so, ranked from 1 to 40 based on your performance.
Highly variable gender balance performance
“Next 40, mixed companies where in the end the men win?” This is the somewhat ironic title of the study by Spike released this Thursday in challenges and on challenge.fr. Unsurprisingly, some sectors, such as information (Gross, 1er ) or fashion (Veepee, 2thCommunity Cloakroom, 3th), but also education (360Learning, 5th) or health (Doctolib, 10th) seem “naturally” more mixed than others. Aeronautics (Loft Orbital Technologies, 39th), cryptos (Ledger, 38th) or video games (Voodoo, 31th), on the other hand, reach the bottom of the ranking.
“We are not giving lessons, guarantees Ruben Arnold, we want to support start-ups.” Some, he recalls, are already making an effort, such as Loft Orbital or Descartes Underwriting (insurance data analysis, 20th), which committed to having a strategic committee composed of 20% women by 2025 and 40% by 2028.
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Undoubtedly, it would be counterproductive to impose diversity and parity obligations on start-ups, as was done for large companies listed by the Copé-Zimmermann law (parity on boards of directors), the Future of Muriel Pénicaud (Equality index measuring wage differences) or the Rixain law, passed a year ago, which imposes quotas of 30% of women on executive committees starting in 2026 and 40% in 2029.
Next 40 companies encouraged by Bercy to measure their impact
Unlike the CAC 40, whose companies are required to carry out recurring recruitments that allow them to gradually reorient the female-to-male ratio, start-ups operate differently. “Founders are often groups of friends who form the core of men’s teams, underlines Ruben Arnold. And in the growth phase, management teams are not necessarily renewed”. The companies that appear in the last positions of the ranking “are not the last of the class”, he says. But they will have to put the issue of diversity on their agenda.
Read too French Women 40, this new award to support female entrepreneurship
Taking into account the protests of women’s networks such as the Sista collective, the Ministry of Economy and Finance has indeed decided to change (a little) the rules of the game. “By 2023, to be part of the French Tech Next 40/120, companies will have to meet improved economic performance criteria and commit to measuring their impact in terms of ecology, parity and inclusion”, announces Bercy. The Spike Barometer, which will be updated after the Next 40 class of 2023 is announced, should be very useful in tracking the evolution of the ecosystem.
See Spike’s full study