Recently released statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor show
that for the first time in history, women have begun to outnumber
men on the nations payroll. Yet, according to a key finding in
Calvert Investments Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling: A Survey
of Corporate Diversity Practices of the S&P 100, women continue
to be significantly underrepresented on corporate boards and in
C-level positions. Of all the S&P 100 companies surveyed, less
than 10 percent of women were found to be top-paid executives, and
less than 20 percent were included as board members.
In recent years, women have made great strides as successful
professionals; however, much is still being discussed about the
hard road faced by women who seek top spots in corporate America.
According to the report, more than half of the companies in the
S&P 100 have no female or minority representation in their
executive positions, and only 14 companies have two or more diverse
officers in these positions.
The report also states that while women make up approximately 18
percent of director positions within the S&P 100, they
represent only 8.4 percent of the highest paid positions within the
same group of companiespositions that provide the opportunities to
develop the expertise and networks needed for future board-level
We are very concerned about the fact that women and minorities
continue to be underrepresented at the highest levels of
management, says Barbara J. Krumsiek, president and CEO of Calvert
Group. Without a pipeline of female and minority executives in
highly paid, highly responsible positions, it will be very
difficult to achieve board diversity, which is critical to strong
governance and good management.
Calvert recognizes that corporate diversity is oftentimes more of a
journey than a destination, and the firm offers three
recommendations to organizations struggling to evaluate the
benefits diversity can bring:
- Conduct a self-assessment. Be honest about where you are in
terms of diversity and how you can implement better practices.
- Increase disclosure of corporate diversity practices. Establish
appropriate metrics and provide transparency to help current
employees and external partners evaluate the companys progress.
- Support public policy and community efforts. Communicate
challenges and achievements and extend your organizations
commitment to diversity beyond the organizations walls.
It is hard to imagine in todays volatile economic climate that a
competitive organization can reach the pinnacle of success and stay
there without leveraging the experience and talents of women as
business leaders. As the ratio of employment continues to trend in
favor of women, organizations will soon have no choice but to
promote women into top positions. However, the findings in this
study show promotion progress for women into C-level positions
remains shockingly glacial.