Joining the Gender Debate with ‘Gender Jaundice'

Reaching an audience of senior business decision-makers and HR heads

The Challenge

Thomas International, a leading global provider of people assessment tools such as psychometric assessments needed to raise its profile among senior business decisionmakers and HR heads. But with assessment tools having been around for many years, how could we make them particularly relevant and newsworthy now?


people reached


broadcast interviews


pieces of print and online coverage

How We Helped

With larger companies having to report on their gender pay gap and being closely scrutinised about the number of women on their boards, women and leadership was a topic on the media’s and senior decisionmaker’s agendas. So we created a campaign which gave Thomas International ownership of the topic.

Using Thomas’ considerable expertise and resources our campaign proved definitively and scientifically whether or not there is a difference between successful male and successful female leaders, in terms of their personality traits and emotional intelligence. An area that has never been formally researched before.

We recruited 137 director-level female leaders who agreed to take part completed two of Thomas International’s assessments:

  • The High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI) - this identifies leadership potential by benchmarking their personality traits against those of successful leaders.
  • The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) - which offers an accurate and objective way of measuring someone’s emotional intelligence within the workplace.

Their responses were benchmarked against a carefully matched male senior leadership sample, which Thomas already had in its database. For the first time, like-for-like female and male leaders could be compared.

The comparison found there are no differences between male and female leaders - they have the same traits; contrary to popular opinion female leaders are no more emotional or empathetic or less ruthless than their male counterparts. What the research found was that the difference comes from peoples’ reactions; when men and women show the same leadership traits they are judged differently, and this disadvantages women.

To make this complex research accessible we invented the phrase ‘gender jaundice’ as a neat ‘sound-bite’ way to encapsulate the problem facing women during their rise to the top.

Energy PR rolled-out the campaign in multiple phases. These included:

Radio Day

Strong News Story


Speaker Opportunities


Thomas Events

The Outcome

The unique mechanism behind the research, meant Thomas could talk about boardroom diversity whilst also explaining two of its key assessment tools and the role the assessments (and Thomas) play in helping companies identify people with leadership qualities.

The campaign secured media coverage for Thomas in key national, HR and business titles and on radio – with a reach of 57 million, positioning Thomas as a thought leader on diversity in the workplace.

• 14 broadcast interviews

  • Including Jazz FM’s Business Breakfast, Sky News and several regional BBC Stations
  • 99 minutes of airtime for key Thomas spokesperson, Jayson Darby
  • 33.4 million audience reach

• 10 pieces of print and online press coverage, including an exclusive feature in The Independent

  • 24 million audience reach
  • Features/news in prime media targets such as The HR Director, HR News and The Global Recruiter, HR Zone and Professional Payroll, Pensions & Reward
  • 81,300 targeted audience reach

Database additions

170 senior decisionmakers added to the Thomas International database

Face to face opportunities

2 speaker opportunities were secured for Jayson Darby major events Also helped attract over 80 senior people to 3 Thomas events


broadcast interviews


pieces of print and online coverage

57 million

total campaign reach


senior decision makers added to database


speaker opportunities at major events