A new analysis finds that the percentage of women holding top jobs actually dipped
Hold the applause, ladies.
In some ways, 2017 was a watershed year for females in the United States, what with an unprecedented number of women signing up to run for office, the outing of a jaw dropping number of famous sexual predators and firms like Uber fessing up and pledging to fix cultures of misogyny. But a new study by Korn Ferry, an executive headhunting firm, throws cold water onto those warm fuzzy feelings.
An analysis by the company of the 1,000 largest firms in America by revenue found that the percentage of women holding senior C-suite positions actually dipped this year—from 24% to 23%. The reduction was most pronounced in the chief information officer position, where the percentage of women dropped from 19% to 16%. Interestingly, female CIOs were most likely to be found in the finance industry (26%), though they made up a paltry 7% at service companies. The number of female chief financial officers also dropped slightly, from 12% to 11%, this year.
“Our research indicates women CIOs rank just as competitively as their male counterparts on key competencies,” says Craig Stephenson, Korn Ferry’s managing director for the North America Technology Officers Practice, in a release. “We believe it is important to establish explicit and unbiased methodologies in how IT leaders are assessed by both competency and experience.”
To be sure, progress and regression was uneven throughout the C-suite. The number of women CEOs actually increased a tad this year, from 5% to 6%. Somewhat surprisingly, only 1% of top job holders in healthcare companies are women, though the industry is traditionally seen as more female-oriented. Unsurprisingly, women CEOs were most common in retail companies (12%), though they’re still very much a minority.
The Korn Ferry analysis also suggests that women are more likely to be found in the human resources and marketing fields. Almost a third of chief marketing officers (32%) at America’s top 1,000 companies are women, up a little from 29% in 2016. Female CMOs constituted almost half (49%) of all top marketing exec jobs in the finance industry this year.
All that said, there was only relative gender parity in one post: chief human resources officer. Women made up 55% of all CHROs this year—a figure that ranged from 66% in finance companies to 48% at retail firms.
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