Tuesday, March 08, 2011 | Posted by: Fiona Cullinan
Categories: Women in business | Tags: business, entrepreneurs, statistics, research, women in business, CEO, IBR, boardroom, women, success, board, gender, management, equality, database, international business report, senior management, PHBs
Today marks the 100th International Women’s Day but it seems there’s still much to strive for when it comes to equality in business, as new Grant Thornton figures reveal the proportion of women in senior management has fallen back to 2004 levels.
Fewer senior-level businesswomen globally
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
But new figures from the 2011 Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), which surveys more than 11,000 businesses each year across 39 economies, reveals there may be little to celebrate as the proportion of women in senior management globally is back down to 2004 levels.
Slow progress in the UK
The surprise decrease comes hot on the heels of Lord Davies’ review last week looking at increasing the percentage of women from 9% to 25% on male-dominated UK boards. (More on that story in UK boards need more women directors – but how?)
In addition, our Women in the Boardroom World Map (infographic), which mapped figures from 24 countries in 2009, showed that neither the UK nor the US even made the top 20 for female representation on the senior management team. Again, in 2011, the UK was still far down the global list with just 23% of women in managerial positions (a rise of 1% on 2009 figures).
Sacha Romanovitch, Head of People and Skills and a member of the National Leadership Board at Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented on the UK figures, saying:
“Although the number of women in the UK’s private company boardrooms has increased marginally, the progress is too slow and it is disappointing that the participation of women in senior management in privately held businesses (PHBs) still remains at such a low level.
“Women today represent nearly 60% of graduates in the European Union, and girls are continuing to outperform boys at school and enter the workforce in equal numbers. This talent is currently under-utilised by the UK’s PHBs and represents an opportunity to strengthen the capability and capacity of senior management.”
Key IBR findings
Research from our quarterly survey of privately held businesses (PHBs) revealed that:
• Women now hold just 20% of senior management positions globally, down from 24% in 2009, and up just 1% from 2004.
• The percentage of PHBs that have no women in their senior management has risen to 38% compared to 35% in 2009.
• In the UK, only 3% of PHBs are being led by a female CEO – this compares to the average across the European Union of 10%.
• The UK ranks 5th of the 13 surveyed European Union countries on proportion of women boardroom members, edging ahead of Spain and Italy at 22% and France at 21% but lagging behind both Poland, which at 31% has the highest number of women senior managers seen in the EU, and Sweden at 30%.
• Across the world, Thailand boasts the greatest percentage of women in senior management (45%), followed by Georgia (40%), Russia (36%), Hong Kong and the Philippines (both 35%).
• The countries with the lowest percentages are India, the United Arab Emirates and Japan where women hold fewer than 10% of senior management positions.
• G7 countries lag behind the global average with only 16% of women holding senior roles while, regionally, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) scores highest with 27%.
• Women have become most successful in increasing their share of senior management roles in Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium and Botswana, where the percentage of women in these roles has risen by at least 7% since 2009.
Women are succeeding in finance director roles
Interestingly, of the companies that employ women in senior managerial positions globally, 22% employ them in financial positions – chief financial officer or finance director. This is followed by human resource director (20%), chief marketing officer and sales director (both 9%).
Globally just 8% of companies with women in senior managerial positions have a female chief executive (CEO). However the story is different in Asian economies, Thailand leads the way with 30% of companies employing female CEOs, followed by mainland China (19%), Taiwan (18%) and Vietnam (16%).
You might also find these links useful:
* Women in the boardroom world map (infographic)
* CEO’s Diary: Ros Simmons of VIE at home blogs her daily grind
* My Big Decision: female bosses Julie Meyer and Sahar Hashemi reveal their life-changing moments
* UK boards need more women directors – but how?