Where Are the Women CEOs? - The Minute

Where Are the Women CEOs? - The Minute

Multimedia from this Release

Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 4:00pm


CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

Women make up 50 percent of the total U.S. workforce. But they make up less than five percent of all CEOs in Standard and Poor’s 500 companies index. Where are all the women CEOs? There are several answers to this question, according to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek article. Number one is that most executive women at companies in the S&P 500 are not in operational jobs, such as division heads or senior managers in charge of product lines. Fifty-five percent are in functional roles: lawyers, finance chiefs, and heads of human resources. Ninety-four percent of all S&P 500 CEOs, men and women, held senior operations positions before rising to the top job. The conclusion? The lack of women in operational positions is a major obstacle in their reaching the CEO level.

This creates a secondary problem: young women professionals don’t see female executive role models in operations, so they trend toward functional or support positions. Another issue is board composition. Female directors on S&P 500 boards make up just eighteen percent of the total. These male-dominated boards have not been active enough in promoting female executives into operational roles. But change is in the air. Mary Barra was named the first female CEO at GM after being in charge of the company’s product development for two years. Two former COOs, Marillyn Hewson and Phebe Novakovic, have been appointed to CEO positions at Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. And almost half of current women CEOs in the S&P 500 got their jobs after 2011. Look for this very recent trend to continue to chart upwards.

I’m John Howell for 3BL Media.

Video Source: Where Are the Women CEOs?