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Women’s woeful C-suite representation

Less than 3% of CEOs of the world’s largest companies are women. That’s according to Fortune, whose annual Fortune Global 500 list featured just 14 female CEOs last year.

Why it matters: Stagnant numbers of female CEOs don’t mean that nothing is happening. Rather, they mean that boards continue to perpetuate their biased hiring practices.

By the numbers: The average tenure of a global CEO is now five years, which means that in a typical year about 100 of the CEO slots at Fortune Global 500 companies will be filled with someone new.

  • If 50 of those 100 slots went to women, you would expect the number of female CEOs to more than quadruple to 61 in 2020, and then to continue to rise to 201 in 2026 and 230 in 2030.

The big picture: Don’t hold your breath. In order to get to parity, the first order of business is to fix “the leaky middle,” says Jewelle Bickford, a partner at Evercore Wealth Management who’s co-chair of Paradigm for Parity, an organization trying to close the corporate gender gap.

  • How it works: Experienced and talented women often drop out of the workforce in their 40s and 50s when they’re burdened by both children and parents who need care and attention. Predictive analytics can identify individuals at risk of dropping out and significantly improve their retention rate.

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