Only one in eight CEOs of large companies in Republic are women

CSO survey shows little progress for gender balance at the top of big companies

Network Ireland president Aisling O’Neill: ‘If we can see it, we can be it.’ Photograph: Patrick Browne

Network Ireland president Aisling O’Neill: ‘If we can see it, we can be it.’ Photograph: Patrick Browne

 

Only one in eight chief executives of large companies in the Republic are female, according to a survey published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), while only three in 10 senior executives are female.

The CSO’s second ever Gender Balance in Business Survey asked businesses with 250 or more employees to give information on the gender of their senior executive team and board of directors as of January 1st.

The 30 per cent female representation on senior executive teams marked only a tiny improvement on the 28 per cent reported in the first survey in 2019, while the male grip on chief executive positions, at 87 per cent was down only slightly on the 89 per cent reported in 2019.

Positions

Women occupied just 28 per cent of chief financial officer positions, while only 36 per cent of senior executive appointments in the last year went to women.

The online survey was sent to almost 700 businesses and had a response rate of 67 per cent.

Female representation on boards increased modestly from 20 per cent in 2019 to 22 per cent in 2021. The percentage of boards chaired by women doubled from 7 per cent to 14 per cent over the two years, however.

Network Ireland president Aisling O’Neill welcomed this particular rise.

“We know that visible role models are vitally important and I’d like to congratulate these women taking on chairperson roles in their companies for all they’re doing to advance their careers and thereby encourage others,” she said.

“They are key to fulfilling the promise of the principle surrounding ‘if we can see it, we can be it’.”

The 2021 survey also shows that just 29 per cent of enterprises reported having at least 40 per cent female representation at senior executive level, while 18 per cent had at least 40 per cent female representation on boards of directors.