Korn Ferry Analysis of Largest U.S. Companies Shows Percentage of Women in Most C-Suite Roles Dramatically Lagging Male Counterparts
-Data Reveals Percentages by Title and Industry
-Percentage of Women CEOs Flat from 2015
The analysis found that across the most prominent C-Suite titles (CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CHRO) and several industries (consumer, energy, financial, life sciences, industrial, technology) an average of less than one quarter (24 percent) of the top leaders are women.
Female Representation by C-Suite Title
CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
The study found that across all of the C-Suite positions, the most senior post is held by the smallest percentage of women, with only 5 percent serving as CEO. This percentage remains flat from 2015.
Less than 1 percent of CEOs in the life sciences industry are women. (This excludes some healthcare providers and hospital systems, which are often non-profit organizations that may not publicly disclose financial information). The highest percentage of female CEOs are in the consumer industry (9 percent), followed by energy (6 percent), financial and technology (both 5 percent), industrial (4 percent) and life sciences (less than 1 percent).
“Study after study shows that diverse senior teams provide better
corporate results,” said Korn Ferry Managing Principal
CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
Just 12 percent of CFOs across industries are women. The industry with the most is consumer at 15 percent. Those industries tied for having the least female CFOs are financial and life sciences at 9 percent.
“While the percentage of female CFOs is still small and more progress is
needed, fortunately, interest in promoting and recruiting women into the
role of CFO continues to rise,” said
CIO (Chief Information Officer)
The CIO role fares only a bit better than the CFO role, with 19 percent of women holding the CIO seat across all industries.
“Having gender equality in the CIO role is already top of mind for CEOs
and Boards. We expect this focus to continue for years to come as the
CIO creates greater strategic impact across organizations,” said
CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)
While the percentages are higher than the CEO, CFO and CIO, less than a third (29 percent) of CMOs are women.
“The marketing field is facing a conundrum. In more junior positions,
there is a level playing field between men and women, but the
percentages of women plummet at the highest levels in the function,”
CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer)
The CHRO role is the only C-Suite role where there is gender parity, with 55 percent of CHROs across industries being women.
“In our research, we find that women rank higher on key competencies
needed in the CHRO role such as collaboration and negotiation skills,
the ability to balance multiple constituencies and an appreciation for
the dynamics of the overall business,” said
The Mix by Industry
When considering the percentage of C-Suite women by industry, the financial sector comes in the highest, at 28 percent, followed by technology (25 percent), energy (24 percent) consumer and life sciences (tied at 23 percent) and industrial (22 percent).
“In every industry we analyzed, there’s a tremendous need for improvement to bring more women to the C-Suite,” said Hazard. “This is a joint responsibility of the women to seek out experiences and development that can help them lead and succeed, and for organizations to create an environment where women feel empowered to progress in their careers at all levels.”
Tracy Kurschner, 612.309.3957