Too few females in top jobs

A new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows that the portion of female managers has increased over the past 20 years, but problems still persist in female representation in the leading roles of businesses.

The ILO noted that in over 77% of the countries tracked by the group the portion of female managers has increased over the past 20 years.

However, despite this positive shift in representation in businesses, only 5% or less of the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations are women.

“An increasing number of studies are demonstrating positive links between women’s participation in top decision making teams and structures and business performance,” said Deborah France-Massin, Director of the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities.

“But there is a long way to go before we achieve true gender equality in the workplace, especially when it comes to top management positions.”

Looking at the number of women in management positions across the world, South Africa ranks 54th out of 126 countries listed by the ILO, with only 31.3% of middle and senior management roles in the country.

This is the relative middle ground between the ranking top spot, held by Jamaica with 59.3% female representation, and the absolute bottom spot held by Yemen, with a paltry 2.1%.

Norway has the highest global proportion of companies (13.3%) with a woman as company board chairperson, followed by Turkey (11.1%).

In Africa, four countries rank above South Africa.

Ghana occupies the top spot on the continent, ranked at 26th place with 39%, followed by Botswana ranking 28th (38.6%), Madagascar ranking 34th (36.6%) and Namibia ranking 37th (36.0%).

Top 10 countries with female management representation

# Country %
1 Jamaica 59.3
2 Colombia 53.1
3 Saint Lucia 52.3
4 Philippines 47.6
5 Panama 47.4
6 Belarus 46.2
7 Latvia 45.7
8 Guatemala 44.8
9 Bahamas 44.4
10 Moldova 44.1

Bottom 10 countries with female management representation

# Country %
108 Yemen 2.1
107 Pakistan 3.0
106 Algeria 4.9
105 Jordan 5.1
104 Bangladesh 5.4
103 Qatar 6.8
102 Saudi Arabia 7.1
101 Lebanon 8.4
100 Oman 9.3
99 Egypt 9.7

According to the South African Business Women’s Association, only 3.6% of all CEO position on the JSE are held by women.

“The glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching top positions in business and management may be showing cracks but it is still there,” the report said.

“More women than ever before are managers and business owners, but there is still a dearth of women at the top of the corporate ladder.”

The report notes that “in most regions” women are surpassing men with degrees at Bachelors’ and Masters’ levels, though women had reached parity in obtaining degrees two decades ago.

“They are now fast catching up with men in gaining doctoral degrees,” the ILO said.

However, the report noted further that men surpass women in virtually all countries at the highest levels of education, accounting for almost 55% of all PhD graduates and 71% of researchers.

The report presents the findings of a 2013 ILO survey of over 1,200 companies in Africa, Asia and Pacific, Eastern and Central Europe and Latin American and the Caribbean.

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Too few females in top jobs