C-suite success: women hold 25% of executive management positions in top firms

But women are still poorly represented at the helm of Ireland’s Top1000 companies

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Fri, May 16, 2014, 05:00

A quarter of “c-suite” or executive management positions among Ireland’s largest companies are now held by women - a significantly higher proportion than is found internationally - a new survey from the Irish Times Top1000 2014 publication shows. However, the survey also shows that women are still poorly represented at the helm of Ireland’s Top1000 companies, with just 11 per cent of such organisations with a female in the CEO/managing director/country manager role.

According to the survey, which was based on Top1000 2014, the definitive database of leading companies across the island, women now account for 25 per cent of “c-suite” or executive management functions such as chief executive; chief operating officer; chief financial officer/finance director; marketing director etc. This is significantly higher than international norms - in the US for example, just 14 per cent of so-called c-suite roles in Fortune 500 companies are held by women.

When the companies which make up the Top1000 are considered by sector, the pharmaceutical/health sector comes out the best for gender diversity, with females holding 31 per cent of c-suite roles, followed by retailing (28 per cent) and communications (27 per cent). Construction/property is the poorest for gender diversity with just 16 per cent of such roles held by women.

The survey also shows that women continue to dominate traditional roles such as human resources director - 60 per cent of these roles among the Top1000 are held by women - and marketing (45:55 per cent breakdown in favour of women). On the other hand, men account for 89 per cent of chief executive/managing director positions, and 84 per cent of CFO/finance director roles.

Elsewhere, the overall survey shows some change among the country’s ten largest countries. While CRH has held onto its top spot as Ireland’s largest company, despite a year of mixed fortunes, Google has overtaken Microsoft to take second place, thanks to growing its revenues by a staggering 25 per cent to €15.5 billion. Due to two years of revenue growth at its Irish operation, Oracle has also moved up the rankings, advancing by two places to seven.

Overall, the survey shows that more companies are growing their sales - and their profits - than those that are declining. Not only that, but Ireland’s top companies are out-performing their foreign-owned peers, with sixty-two per cent of Irish companies growing their turnover in the most recent financial year, compared with 57 per cent of foreign-owned firms.

Of those companies where profit figures are disclosed, some 80 per cent were in the black according to this year’s survey, and of those, 55 per cent saw their profits increase on an annual basis.

However, while the survey points to green shoots aplenty, it also shows that there are still more than a few companies - particularly in the construction and retail sectors - that continue to struggle.

For full details on these surveys please see the Top1000 2014 publication inserted in your newspaper today.

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