Only 15% firms had women CEOs in 2019; now 28% do!

As per a survey, during 2019 to 2023, women CIO positions increased from 16% to 23%


Although there has been only a slight increase in the percentage of women in senior leadership roles, a 2023 survey by Grant Thornton reveals that the roles women hold have certainly broadened.

An increase has been seen in the percentage of women donning the chief executive officer (CEO)/ managing director (MD) as well as chief information officer (CIO) hats. In 2019, only 15 per cent of businesses had women CEOs / MDs. Now, this figure has improved to 28 per cent. While there were 16 per cent businesses with women in CIO positions in 2019, the figure has now improved to 23 per cent.

The number of women chief operating officers (COOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) is also going up. About 25 per cent of businesses now have a woman as COO and 38 per cent have women as CFOs.

Clearly, more firms are committed to gender diversity now than ever as they have realised that diverse leadership teams benefit their brand and their financial success. While some regions have improved, others have fallen behind. Overall, the progress has been slow.

Without businesses putting in extra effort to ensure diversity in the higher ranks, the percentage of senior management positions held by women will manage to touch only about 34 per cent by 2025. What is disturbing is, about nine per cent of mid-market businesses worldwide still have no women in senior leadership positions.

If we focus only on the positive aspects, the good news is that all regions have managed to go beyond the 30 per cent figure for women in senior managerial roles. In the ASEAN region, there has been the maximum improvement in terms of percentage points — from 37 to 40 per cent. In Latin America, it rose by two percentage points, from 35 to 37 per cent. The performance of the European Union remained flat at 33 per cent.

There was an increase of two percentage points in the Asia Pacific (APAC), to 32 per cent. Interestingly, India was one of the key contributors to this increase in APAC. The Country has introduced new policies to boost diversity in the workplace. In 2020, it became a requirement that the largest 1000 companies should have a woman as an independent director. Also, the Indian government allows six months of paid maternity leave to women workers. This permits women to recover from childbirth and also arrange for the care of their children before returning to work.

The only region to witness a fall was North America — from 33 to 31 per cent.

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