Tag: CEO

Appointment of women CEOs doubles globally

Only 8% of the UK’s CEOs are women, according to the eighth annual Route to the Top report released by provider of executive search and leadership advisory services, Heidrick & Struggles. The survey analysed the profiles of 1,095 CEOs at the largest publicly listed companies across 24 markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, UAE, UK and the US.

The percentage seems low, but the share of newly appointed women CEOs has more than doubled globally to 13% over the first half of 2021; this compared to the last six months of 2020 which was 6%. The increase appears to indicate more progressive and inclusive policies inside the world’s top businesses. D&I continues to be brought into sharp focus, as made evident by the results shared at Talint Partners’ Benchmark Summit at The King’s Fund in London on 18 November.

While only 8% of UK CEOs are women, this is a 3% increase on last year and 2% more than both the European and global average (6%). At 14%, Ireland leads the world with the highest number of female leaders at the top of the corporate ladder.

Sharon Sands, partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ London office and co-lead of the CEO & Board of Directors Practice commented on the findings: “In the UK, the percentage of CEOs with cross-industry experience has risen to 34% in 2021 from 13%, as was found in the 2020 report. This shows that the skill set required is not-necessarily industry specific and can be transferred as required. Companies are also increasingly looking internally to fill available C-suite roles. At Heidrick & Struggles, we are strong believers in succession planning and the importance of developing a pipeline of diverse talent working their way up through the ranks.”

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Female board members earn almost half of male counterparts

Research published by New Street Consulting Group revealed that female board members at some of the UK’s largest companies are paid around 40% less than men in the same roles.

While equal pay has been in sharp focus over the last few years, data revealed that the gender pay gap is the widest in the c-suite of corporate Britain. On average, women earned £104,800 for non-executive roles at FTSE 100 companies last year, compared with an average of £170,400 paid to men. For executive board members, average pay was £2.5m for men and £1.5m for women.

In the broader market, women were paid 15.5% less than men, according to 2020 data from the Office for National Statistics.

Darren Hockley, Managing Director at DeltaNet International commented: Despite discussions of the gender pay gap over recent years, and the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, it’s clear that FTSE 100 organisations are still not doing enough to tackle the issue – especially when there’s a 40% difference.  The fact is that unconscious bias remains, and organisations must tackle diversity and equality issues by supporting staff with training. HR must work more closely with executive teams to address equal and fair pay to stamp out social injustice.

“Pay equality responsibility does not just lie with HR; it requires support from everyone in the organisation in order to be addressed. So, more executives need to step up and become an ally for their female colleagues. If they are aware of injustice, then they need to speak up and support their female colleagues to get paid what they deserve.”

40% club

The Financial Conduct Authority recently suggested that UK companies should ensure that at least 40% of board level roles and a minimum of one senior executive role are held by women.

New Street Consulting Director Claire Carter, said “Focusing solely on the percentages of directors that are women is not enough when trying to approach equality.”

The government-backed review of board diversity, the Hampton-Alexander review found that, across the FTSE 350, women now held its 2020 target of an average of 33% board roles. But 130 businesses fell short of this target. Senior board roles remained male dominated, with just 14% of executive directorships held by women. Just 17 chief executives across the FTSE 350 are women.

Most businesses are doing their best to ensure they’re no longer a ‘boys club’ even if the reality of their demographics didn’t live up to aspirations, said Carter.

“The key to doing that will be ensuring that women have more executive responsibilities and are trained and prepared properly for taking on that responsibility,” she said. “It will be a case of their examining whether there are any barriers that are preventing females from reaching the very top at their organisation.”

Photo courtesy of Canva.com

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