Unfortunately, research demonstrates that there is still a large disparity in the number of high-paying positions held by women and men; and women haven’t made tremendous progress in the last six years in closing that gap.
According to the 2011 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors, Executive Officers and Top Earners and prior Catalyst Censuses, women have made no significant gains in the last year and are no further along the corporate ladder than they were six years ago:
- Women held 16 percent of board seats in 2011, compared to 15.7 percent in 2010.
- Less than one-fifth of companies had 25 percent or more women board directors.
- About one in ten companies had no women serving on their boards.
- Women held 14.1 percent of Executive Officer positions in 2011, compared to 14.4 percent in 2010.
- Women held only 7.5 percent of Executive Officer top-earner positions in 2011, while men accounted for 92.5 percent of top earners.
- Less than one in five companies had 25 percent or more women Executive Officers and more than one-quarter had zero.
This is not good news for companies that are hoping to remain competitive. Catalyst research also showed that gender diversity in the boardroom correlates with better corporate performance – by a huge margin. Companies with three or more women board directors in four of five years, on average, outperformed companies with zero women board directors by 84 percent return on sales, 60 percent return on invested capital, and 46 percent return on equity. Whoa.
But how can companies with a dearth of female talent turn things around? Have a look at my advice.