Only 3% of New CEOs Are Women

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Women have made very little progress in terms of what they make compared to men in similar jobs. The equality situation is even worse in the CEO’s office. Only 3% of incoming chief executive officers last year were women. To matters worse for female CEOs, they are more likely to be fired than male counterparts.

According to a new study on chief executives by consultancy Strategy& that covered the world’s 2,500 largest public companies:

Among CEOs leaving office over the past 10 years, a higher share of women have been forced out than men (38 percent of women vs. 27 percent of men).

While the firm did not give specific reasons for the difference, it did say the results were statistically significant.

There is good news for female CEO candidates based on forecast trends. Strategy& forecast:

By 2040, we project that women will make up about a third of new CEO appointments. In terms of professional background, we found fewer differences between female and male CEOs than we anticipated, but two particularly notable ones: Women are more often hired from outside their company, and women are more often forced out of office.

The study, now in its 14th year, focused on several other facts about women CEOs. Among them are that there are almost no female CEOs in Japan (only 0.8% of the total). Numbers from India, Russia and Brazil are nearly as grim (1.7%). The only nation with significantly higher numbers was the United States at 3.2%.

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The differences extend to industries. Among tech companies, women make up 3.2% of CEOs. This was followed by 2.8% at both consumer staples and consumer discretionary companies. At the lower end of the scale, only 1.7% of the CEOs at industrial companies were women.

In terms of professional background, women CEOs are different from their male peers in that they are more often outsiders — new CEOs hired from outside the company (35 percent of women versus 22 percent of men).

An analysis of the numbers shows that the future of women as CEOs is a double-edged sword. While their numbers are likely to grow, so is the rate at which they are dismissed.

Methodology: This study identified the world’s 2,500 largest public companies, defined by their market capitalization (from Bloomberg) on January 1, 2013. Our research team members then identified the companies among the top 2,500 that had experienced a chief executive succession event and cross-checked data using a wide variety of printed and electronic sources in many languages. For a listing of companies that had been acquired or merged in 2013, they also used Bloomberg.

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