Singapore and Italy Tops Rank in Female CEO Representation Globally

October 15, 20191:12 pm522 views

Singapore has been ranked joint first globally for the highest number of female chief executive officers in a study carried out by Credit Suisse.

The city state exemplified a wider trend in Asia, as more and more women found their way into the very top jobs, the survey found. Asia-Pacific was the region with the highest percentage of female CEOs.

China, however, stood out as much less progressive in this regard, with female representation in the boardroom a long way below the global average.

Over the past decade the number of women in boardrooms worldwide has doubled to reach 20.6 percent. Since 2016 alone, the percentage of females at the directors’ table has climbed from 15.3 percent.

In Asia, the proportion of female board members rose from 11.6 percent in 2015 to 14.4 percent this year, according to a report released on Monday by the Swiss investment bank.

Diversity, however, varies broadly among individual countries. Almost 30 percent of boardroom chairs are occupied by women in Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, while at the other end of the spectrum the figure is just 3.1 percent in South Korea.

The report analysed diversity in the executive teams of over 3,000 companies across 56 countries. In Asia-Pacific it included 1,280 companies from 14 different places.

The number of women in management positions has also climbed, to 19 percent representation in Asia-Pacific. The region came second to the US, and ahead of Europe, boasting seven of the 10 markets with the highest percentage of women in management.

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In terms of the very top job, Singapore was joint first worldwide with Italy for having the highest proportion of female CEOs, at 15 percent. That put them ahead of Thailand on 9 percent and the Philippines on 8 percent.

Credit Suisse did not provide figures by country for female chief executives for previous years.

Though few women make it into senior executive positions, Asia-Pacific took the top spot for the highest number of female CEOs globally, at 5.6 percent. That was well ahead of Europe on 4.1 percent.

“It is heartening to see progress being made in most parts of the world to ensure female progression and promotion in the senior positions of the workplace,” said Patsy Doerr, global head of diversity and inclusion, Credit Suisse. “That being said, we are still a long way off achieving global parity.”

In China, gender diversity among top management is showing little signs of progression, despite one in five chief finance officers for Chinese companies being female, according to the report.

China came in 26th place for female representation in the boardroom, and way below the global average. Women currently make up just 11.2 percent of those around the table, a marginal improvement from 10.1 percent in 2015.

Though the world’s second largest economy has the sixth highest percentage of females as CFOs – 21 percent – it has seen a decline in the diversity of senior management since 2016.

“Having a diverse workforce contributes to wide-ranging expertise, creates broad networks and fosters an inclusive and open corporate culture, all leading to better business results,” said Nikki Davies, head of diversity and inclusion, Asia Pacific, Credit Suisse.

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