Tag: diversity

Liz Bolshaw

’Tis the season, not of mists, but of lists: 12 days of Christmas; three kings; 10 most valuable chief executives.

George Paz (chief executive of St Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts), Steve Jobs (the late chief executive of Apple) and Louis Camilleri (Philip Morris International) all feature in the top 10 of an end-of-year ranking of chief executives (rated by how much wealth they have created for their companies). There are no prizes for guessing what is missing.

In fact you have to scroll down to number 111 before you find a female chief executive – Carol Meyrowitz, of TJX, the discount retailer, and 14th in the FT’s top 50 women in business.

The list, compiled by Chief Executive, the US magazine, ranks chief executives of Fortune 500 companies by a set of financial performance metrics including total shareholder return, for the 36 months to June 30 2011 and ranks only those who have been in post for the whole three years.

In spite of all the efforts to support women’s careers, and all the research that shows diversity to be a performance advantage, the fact remains that too few women are making it to the top.

Research by Catalyst, a non-profit organisation focusing on women and work issues, discussed here, reveals that only 3.2 per cent of the chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women – 17 of the 500. In fact the percentage of female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies has increased only from 0.2 per cent in 1995 to 3.2 per cent today.

Change takes time. In 1890 no woman on the planet had a vote, and it took a century for universal suffrage to spread to 96 per cent of countries (1994).

This is my 168th post for this blog since we launched on October 13 last year. In that time I have written some 60,000 words on the general subject of diversity and women in leadership and interviewed academics, researchers, chief executives and policymakers. There is far more consensus than disagreement: only the question of compulsory quotas has engendered real debate.

We have learnt that even in countries that have significantly broadened women’s access to high-paid positions, this does not necessarily translate into the boardroom. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010), women occupy more than 50 per cent of high-paying management and professional positions, but just 16.1 per cent of board seats.

We have also discovered there is no correlation between economic development and diversity. In Europe, where not quite 12 per cent of board members are female, women hold 17 per cent of board positions in Bulgaria and Latvia.

As I watch the mounting excitement of my sons and daughter as Christmas approaches, I hope that by the time they make their career choices a decade from now, this blog will appear a quaint irrelevance.

Happy holidays to all our readers.

 

Liz Bolshaw

“Any CEO who ignores the 42 per cent increase in sales [that diversity can provide through better corporate performance] should be shot,” Lynne Featherstone, minister for equalities, said this morning. “It’s not about equality for equality’s sake. It’s about making your company better.” (more…)

To an outsider Germany might seem like a place where women could easily fill high-powered positions, writes Rebeka Shaid. After all, the country is governed by chancellor Angela Merkel, who Forbes recently crowned “the world’s most powerful woman”. Yet last year the German Institute for Economic Research found that over 90 per cent of the nation’s top-100 companies did not appoint one single woman to an executive positions. How can this be? (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

A new study by Hay Group, the management consultancy, reports that male non-executive directors in Europe’s largest companies are paid an average of 7 per cent more than female non-execs. (more…)

Rebecca Knight

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year, women made up less than a third of personal financial advisors, 35 per cent of financial analysts and 39 per cent of workers in the securities, commodities, and fund management business. Similarly, the 2010 Catalyst Census of Women Executive Officers found that women comprised less than a quarter of all senior officers in the financial services and insurance industries. It is an imbalance that many companies are keen to rectify. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

Earlier this week, the Royal Navy announced that Lieutenant Commander Sarah West would take command of HMS Portland, a type-32 frigate, in April next year. She will be the first woman in the service’s 500-year history to command a British warship.

The gradual − some would say belated − infiltration by women of the upper ranks of military forces is beginning to accelerate. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

More than 80 per cent of high-flying women questioned in a new survey believe there is anti-female bias in appointments to company boards – but most oppose the introduction of quotas. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

Here’s a conundrum: do expectations drive outcomes or do outcomes shape expectations? (more…)

Rebecca Knight

It is a new corporate reality that in order to retain talented women, companies must offer flexible work arrangements. These practices – from variable hours to telecommuting and part-time employment – enable workers, women and men alike, to strike a better balance between office obligations and home life. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

Calpers and Calstrs, two US pension funds, are to launch a database of independent directors that will help improve corporate governance in companies held in their portfolios. (more…)

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