While the percentage of women in executive-level gigs varied across economic sectors, none even scratched the 20% mark, per a new Pew analysis
Parity at the top is even worse than you thought.
Women made up just one in 10 top executives — i.e., CEO, CFO and the next three highest-paid gigs — at U.S. companies from 2016 to 2017, per a new Pew analysis of compensation reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by S&P 1500 companies.
Just over 5% of S&P 1500 company chief executives were women, the report found, while women held only 11.5% of executive roles just beneath the CEO. “Although this group in general constitutes a significant pool of potential future CEO candidates, the women officers we identified tended to be in positions such as finance or legal that, previous research suggests, are less likely to lead to the CEO’s chair than other, more operations-focused roles,” Pew noted.
While the percentage of women in executive-level gigs varied across economic sectors, none even scratched the 20% mark. The utilities sector led the pack with 17.3% of non-CEO female execs, followed by consumer discretionary (16.1%), materials (13.6%), health care (12.6%), consumer staples (12.3%), industrials (10.5%), IT (9.9%) and real estate (8.6%). In the bottom three were energy (8.5%), financials (8.1%) and telecomm services (6%, or just three out of 50). The utilities sector also had the largest share of women CEOs, at 18.5% — still less than one in five.
At the industry level, almost half (31 out of 67) had no female CEOs — while more than half of the 77 female CEOs were clustered in just 10 industries, and eight of them led specialty retailers. Around half of non-CEO women executives were also concentrated into a handful of industries (15). The gas utilities industry was the frontrunner in the share of non-CEO female execs at 30%.
As for the positions these high-ranking non-CEO women actually held, Pew found that CFO (25.8%) and general counsel/chief legal officer (23.7%) were the most prevalent; another 9.7% served as chief human resources officer. Meanwhile, just 14.7% were heads of business units and 7.2% were named president, COO or head of operations.
“The relative scarcity of women in high-level operational roles may be significant,” the report said, “because management researchers have found that, generally speaking, companies and their boards (who formally appoint the CEO) prefer to have people with operational experience in the top spot.”
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved