Study: Women Still Not Getting to the Top Levels

Even though women make up more than half the workforce, they are still significantly underrepresented on corporate boards and in C-level executive positions, according to a new study released by Calvert Investments.


The study, “Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling: A Survey of Corporate Diversity Practices of the S&P 100,” shows that 92 of 100 CEOs represented in the survey are white men.

Other key findings from the S&P 100 report:

  • Women make up only 18 percent of director positions within the S&P 100 and only 8.4 percent of the highest-paid executive positions within the same group of companies
  • More than half—56 companies—in the S&P 100 have no women and/or Black, Latino, Asian or American Indian representation in their highest-paid executive positions, and only 14 companies have two or more diverse officers in these positions

By way of contrast, The DiversityInc Top 10 Companies for Executive Women have a far better track record when it comes to employing and retaining women in the workplace and moving them up the management ranks. For example, these companies tie senior leaders’ compensation to diversity initiatives, as do 76 percent of The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity. View the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.

Additionally, their boards of directors are 24 percent women, compared with 15 percent as the national average (Catalyst). And senior management (CEO and direct reports and direct reports to those direct reports) are 36 percent women, compared with a national average of 13.5 percent (Catalyst).

The Calvert study evaluated S&P 100 companies according to 10 indicators: EEO Policy, Internal Diversity Initiatives, External Diversity Initiatives, Scope of Diversity Initiatives, Family-Friendly Benefits, EEO-1 Disclosure, Highest Paid Executives, Board Representation, Director Selection Criteria and Overall Corporate Commitment.

“We are very concerned about the fact that women and minorities continue to be underrepresented at the highest levels of management,” says Calvert Group President and CEO Barbara J. Krumsiek of the study. “Without a pipeline of female and minority executives in highly paid, highly responsible positions, it will be very difficult to achieve board diversity, which is critical to strong governance and good management.”

Among some of the other findings in the S&P 100 study:

No disclosure = No accountability

  • The report found that 37 percent of the S&P 100 companies disclose no demographic data on employees, such as race, ethnicity and gender. Only eight companies disclose full EEO-1 data—that is, a full breakdown of the workforce by race and gender across employment categories

Integration and innovation abound

  • According to the report, 30 percent of the S&P 100 companies include some oversight of diversity issues at the board level, and 34 percent of companies include diversity measures within their compensation plans

Corporate commitment remains the “X” factor

  • Overall, 38 percent of the S&P 100 companies demonstrate a robust commitment to diversity, both internally and externally

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