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More Female Representation on Senior Executive Teams: What is Driving Organizations?

Though companies feel the gender composition of their senior executive team was either “important” or “very important” (57 percent), there is still a large gender bias – with an average of only 25 percent female composition of senior executive teams.  More than half of the respondents from around the globe (55 percent) report their organization’s senior executive team is 75 percent or more male.

Organizations from the not-for-profit sector seem to buck this trend. These businesses are most likely to have a high proportion of females on the senior executive team, with one-third saying that they are more than 50-percent female.

Notably, four in 10 of the organizations surveyed expect to increase the number of females on their senior executive teams over the next three years. This increases to 46 percent among organizations where the senior executive team consists of more than 50 percent males.

Respondents based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) rated gender composition more important (62 percent) than the overall global response. Respondents from Asia-Pacific were below the average, with only 48 percent saying gender composition was important to their organization.

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Forces of Change: What is Driving Organizations?

Respondents were asked to identify the top drivers of change – both globally and within their own organization. The top response, cited by 44 percent of executives, was new forms of competition. That response was followed by:

  • New sales/business channels (36 percent)
  • Government regulation (34 percent)
  • Technological developments (33 percent)
  • Globalization (25 percent)

New forms of competition was seen as more pressing by respondents from the Asia-Pacific region (51 percent), while in the Americas and EMEA, government regulation was the top driver for change, named by 34 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

When asked what functional line of business will change the most in the next three years, nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) named technology. Other areas expected to change were:

  • Marketing (38 percent)
  • Sales (35 percent)
  • Operations (34 percent)
  • Compliance (28 percent)
  • Human resources (27 percent)


New Global Survey Reveals Surprising Consistency Around the World, By Christine Hayward, Executive Director of IIC Partners.

  1. What Do Companies Seek Most in a Senior Executive?
  2. More Female Representation on Senior Executive Teams: What is Driving Organizations
  3. Succession Planning: Organizations Still Have Some Work to Do
  4. Do Companies Prefer Internal or External Candidates When Filling Senior Positions?

About the Survey Respondents

The survey respondents came from 18 industry sectors ranging from manufacturing and financial services to mining and retail. Sixty-two percent of the respondents were at the C-suite or Managing Director level, with 520 from the Americas, 383 from EMEA and 347 from Asia-Pacific. Two-thirds of respondents have a Master’s Degree or higher.

The survey, administered by Amárach Research of Dublin, Ireland, consisted of responses from executives at publicly held organizations (38 percent), privately held firms (43 percent), family-owned companies (8 percent), not-for-profits (5 percent) and other types of businesses (3 percent).

Christine Hayward is Executive Director of IIC Partners, one of the top 10 executive search organizations in the world. The network of Independent International Consultants is made up of 40 independently owned and managed executive search firms representing 48 offices in 34 countries, all considered to be leaders in the geographic and industry markets they serve.

About the AuthorProfessional

CEOWORLD Magazine, the world's leading business and technology online magazine written strictly for CEOs and forward-thinking high-level executives at companies around the world. ( )

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