Courage, persistence and a good portion of innovative potential – being self-employed demands certain features, especially within an economy witnessing unemployment rates up to 25%. The Spanish labour market was severely affected by the worldwide economic crisis and all those Spaniards owning their own businesses were even more endangered, struggling alone against the crisis. In the same time all those businesses surviving the crisis are very attractive partners for European companies, even more if they deal generally with small and medium enterprises (SME). Based on the results of a recently published report by the Spanish Self-Employed Federation (ATA), companies, operating in a Spanish B2B-environment should urgently revisit their Gender Diversity, as ATA comes to a very clear conclusion: Female entrepreneurs were more resistant and successful than their male counterparts.
Between 2008 and 2012 more than 320.000 self-employed men were forced to interrupt or end their economic autonomy, a decrease by 14% and a higher portion compared with the 63.500 female self-employees (5.7%) who quit their professional status. Adding up the numbers more than 80% of all Spanish entrepreneurs sustaining an economic failure were men. Obviously female businesses are stable and reliable clients within the Spanish market, making them very attractive for cross-border co-operations for European companies.
Of course the results cannot be related to a typical male weakness vis-à-vis the crisis. Men are in lead in agriculture, transport and industry, domains that proved to be especially vulnerable in the crisis, which took its start within the Spanish real estate industry. Nevertheless numerous important sectors are dominated by female entrepreneurs, for example commerce, the hotel and restaurant sector, health or the financial and insurance sector. The 1 million Spanish women are making up the highest share of self-employees (32.6%) in Europe, although numbers of self-employed women in other countries like France, Belgium, Greece or Germany are not that bad, lying around 30%.
Companies need to take into account the growing influence and importance of female entrepreneurs, especially when they are in close B2B-exchange with SME in domains like tourism, health or professional, scientific and technical activities. Hence it would be a huge strategic fault to restrict Gender-Diversity to B2C-departments, a bias which can be observed in many companies. Nowadays they start to change this attitude and include B2B-sectors into their Diversity-Approach.