It’s good for business but women shut out of senior management

by HCA17 May 2012

New figures are in and just 22% of 1,200 Australian CEO’s say they have appointed – or intend to appoint – a female to senior management.

And yes, it is 2012 not 1912.

When chief executives were asked if they had any women in the most senior management roles (such as C-level jobs, or a job reporting to the CEO), or whether there were any on the way, a resounding 75% of small and medium sized organisations said no. The data from Chief Executive Women and Dun & Bradstreet also found that just 35% of chief executives said their policies required women to be shortlisted for senior roles.

The person behind the survey was Christine Christian, former CEO of financial services firm Dun & Bradstreet, and now CEO at Chief Executive Women. Christian was surprised by the results and believed attitudes would have changed in light of the research which shows gender diversity does improve business performance. “There's no head room to think strategically despite evidence showing that on nearly every business measure, gender diversity and leadership has a sizeable improvement on business performance,” Christian commented to Fairfax media.

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), which awards the annual Employer of Choice for Women certification, said while the case for gender equality is clear, many organisations simply turn their back on the data. “We need to be open to the whole talent pool,” Helen Conway from EOWA said. “Women are at least as well-educated as men. It's just foolish not to employ women when we have talent shortage, and low participation rates,” she added.


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