- While it may not shock many observers, the percentage of women in most C-Suite positions is dramatically lower than their male counterparts. CHRO is the only C-suite role where there is gender parity, with 55 percent of CHROs across industries being women, according to a recent survey.
- The analysis from Korn Ferry of the top 1,000 U.S. employers by revenue found that across the most prominent C-Suite titles (CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CHRO) and several industries (consumer, energy, financial, life sciences, industrial, technology), only an average of 24% of top leaders are women.
- Worse, the higher up the ladder, the smaller the female percentage, as only 5% of CEOs are women, a flat number from 2015.
Broken down by business sectors, the highest percentage of female CEOs are in the consumer sector (9%), followed by energy (6%), financial and technology (both 5%), industrial (4%) and life sciences (less than 1%).
Korn Ferry Managing Principal Peggy Hazard said that research shows that diverse senior level teams provide better corporate results, so having more women at the top is a priority for Korn Ferry clients. "However, the needle is not moving as quickly as any of us would like to see," she said.
Moving down the food chain, just 12% of CFOs across industry sectors are women and the CIO role fares only a bit better, with 19% of women holding the CIO seat across all industries. And while the percentages are higher than the CEO, CFO and CIO, less than a third (29%) of CMOs are women.
Enter the CHRO anomaly. Joseph McCabe, vice chairman in Korn Ferry’s Global Human Resources Center of Expertise, said that his firm finds 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.
He added that other Korn Ferry research shows a distinct correlation between CEO and CHRO competencies, but women are still struggling to get to the top jobs. The fact that those competencies correlate so highly says there is no doubt something else at play in keeping women from the CEO jobs, perhaps including a lack of a pipeline to such positions.