S&P Global Finds that Women Are on Track to Achieve Parity in Gender Representation among U.S. Corporate Leadership Roles as soon as 2030

Milestone could be achieved in less than a decade, sooner than other projections

NEW YORK, Aug. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) today released a new research report that suggests women could achieve parity with men across senior leadership roles in the U.S. between 2030 and 2037 (Figure 1).

The report, titled "Breaking Boundaries: Women Poised for Milestone Achievement in Parity Amidst Otherwise Bleak Outlook", documents an exponential growth in the percentage of women holding executive and board positions among companies in the Russell 3000 since 2010. If exponential growth continues, women will have equal representation to men in these roles between 2030 and 2037, according to the research. While these findings are encouraging, the report also cites work from the World Economic Forum that indicates parity at a broader scale is still more than a century away.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Women held 21.9% of all board and C-suite positions in companies in the Russell 3000 Index at the end of 2021, which is up from 9.5% in 2010. Extrapolating at current trends, companies in the Russell 3000 would reach gender parity in senior leadership roles between 2030 and 2037.
  • The majority of progress towards gender parity is coming from women taking seats on company boards. Parity among C-suite leadership may not occur until mid-21st century; and parity at the highest levels in CEO and CFO positions could take even longer, with the current percentage of women CEOs in North America at 7%, behind Europe at 7.9%.
  • During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, women in leadership positions grew by only 1.7% rather than the estimated rate of 2.5%. This suggests that women's careers were generally hit harder than their male counterparts during COVID-19.

"This is a small subset of the job market where women have made massive advancements, and the numbers continue to gain momentum," said Daniel J. Sandberg, PhD, CFA, Head of Quantamental Research at S&P Global Market Intelligence and co-author of the report. "Our previous research has shown the powerful impact that a diverse workforce can have on the profitability and long-term value of a firm. This new data suggests firms are taking notice and building a pipeline for the next generation of female leaders in senior leadership and C-suite roles."

Figure 1: Women’s Representation Rate in Senior Leadership Positions; Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence Quantamental Research. Data as at 03/03/2023, based on Russell 3000 companies, 2010-2021 (Actual); 2022-2035 (Extrapolated).

These findings build upon the team's previous research around the performance of companies with women in CEO and CFO positions, which found that firms which appointed women leaders had subsequent positive performance, higher profitability, and superior stock returns.

"We hope this report illuminates an encouraging development in the pursuit of gender parity for companies' senior leaders," said Lindsey Hall, Head of Thought Leadership, S&P Global Sustainable1. "C-suite parity is not projected to be reached until closer to the middle of the century, but companies can make proactive efforts now to bolster and invest in the development and growth of women leaders at an earlier stage in their career."

The research was conducted by S&P Global and includes an analysis of 86,000 executives across 7,300 U.S. firms in the Russell 3000 from 2010 to 2021.

The full report can be read here: https://www.spglobal.com/esg/insights/featured/special-editorial/breaking-boundaries-women-poised-for-milestone-achievement-in-parity-amid-otherwise-bleak-outlook

About S&P Global
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