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Women not being promoted to senior roles that can secure CEO positions – study

Study warns more needs to be done to tackle gender inequality

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In Ireland, although 27pc of boardroom roles in surveyed companies are held by women, the proportion in leadership roles is 19pc

In Ireland, although 27pc of boardroom roles in surveyed companies are held by women, the proportion in leadership roles is 19pc

In Ireland, although 27pc of boardroom roles in surveyed companies are held by women, the proportion in leadership roles is 19pc

A major new corporate study has found that Irish women are not being promoted equally into senior management and finance jobs which could position them to secure chief executive roles.

The global study – conducted for BoardEx in partnership with Odgers Berndtson – was conducted with all companies listed on Ireland's Iseq.

It found that while 58pc of general management and finance positions account for senior leadership roles, only 10pc are female.
Globally, four out of five senior management roles are held by men.

The study looked at 14,850 individual leadership roles in companies from the top indices across 26 major countries.

In Ireland, although 27pc of board roles in surveyed companies are held by women, their representation drops to only 19pc in leadership positions, such as that of chief executive.

In contrast, certain corporate roles such as human resources, legal services and property management, are where women are well represented.

In Ireland, women hold 60pc of human resources roles, followed by legal and property at 50pc, purchasing and others at 38pc.

Roles that involve sales, marketing, public relations and strategy are held at a rate of 18pc by women.

General management makes up 41pc of leadership roles but is only held at a rate of 9pc by females.

Finance, the next most common function for promotion of senior managers, is only 12pc female.

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General management and finance jointly account for 58pc of leadership roles but are only 10pc female.

While such findings may appear stark, they enable Ireland to sit mid-table in terms of female representation within corporate management.

Ireland ranks behind the US, UK and Australia but ahead of countries such as France, Canada and even Germany.

The country with the lowest rate of female management representation is Japan at a mere 4pc.

Experts warned that unless women are promoted into roles where they can secure the necessary experience for potential chief executive promotions, such roles will continue to be predominantly filled by men.

“Women may be found in numbers in specific functions, but as a whole they still only amount for a disappointing 19pc of leadership team positions,” states BoardEx data chief Dominick Sutton said.

"Women, on average account for 60pc of HR and 37pc of legal roles across the globe but those job functions only account for 6pc and 8pc of leadership team headcount, respectively."

Odgers Berndtson chief executive Kester Scrope said more needed to be done to address gender inequality.

“Building a pipeline of leadership talent that is gender diverse is both a moral obligation and good business sense,” Mr Scrope said.

"This is where executive search plays a critical role in addressing gender inequality.

"The best headhunters can identify diverse candidate pools to ensure clients have access to a broad a slate of people.”


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