Research: Women's Ascent to Top Executive Jobs Hits a Wall

Report warns of an 'alarming turning point' in the road to gender parity
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2024 7:20 PM CDT
Research: Women's Ascent to Top Executive Jobs Hits a Wall
Stock photo   (Getty/metamorworks)

For the first time since S&P Global Market Intelligence began tracking the data in 2006, the percentage of top executive jobs held by women in corporate America declined last year. Researchers warned the shift could represent an "alarming turning point" in the progress toward gender parity in the top jobs, the Washington Post reports. Women account for 11.8% of the 15,000 chief executives, financial officers, and other jobs at the top of publicly traded US companies. That share was 12.2% the year before, according to the report. Researchers were surprised by the turnaround, after a surge among female executives in 2022, and said previous projections about parity are in doubt.

"Growth no longer appears exponential," the report said in citing a diminished emphasis on diversity efforts. The growth rate of women in all senior leadership roles across the nation was 0.5 percent in 2023, the lowest in more than a decade, per Yahoo Finance. "Women may be hired in entry-level roles, but not receive the same opportunities for development and promotion as men," said a management professor. Simone Phipps said that the core executive role held by a woman is more likely to be chief marketing officer, not chief operating officer or chief financial officer.

Another professor said women made big gains at what turned out to be a bad time for corporations—2021 and '22, when many businesses were struggling to emerge from the pandemic. Researchers said gender parity may be seven years more distant than previously projected, per, possibly not being achieved until 2042. (More corporate America stories.)

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