Human Resources



Women make up only 4% of finance sector CEOs

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More than 40% of executives from the financial services industry, both male and female, feel their company is doing enough to attract and retain female talent.

Yet, just 4% of CEOs and 13% of executive committee (ExCo) members of leading financial services firms globally are women. As a result, gender imbalance continues to plague this industry the world over.

Singapore, which had 20% or more women ExCo members in 2003 and 2008, dipped below this number in 2013. China has hovered around the 10% across all three years.

It’s no surprise that over a third of ExCos of 150 leading financial institutions are entirely male. Only in Norway was the average ExCo member found to have more than 30% women, which this report by Oliver Wyman defines as “the critical mass” required in an organisation.

In the past 10 years, female representation on boards has increased by two-thirds, with 20% of board members now reported to be women in this sector. This progress has been largely within the functions of infrastructure, support, and some control.

In comparison, only 11% of ExCo roles with profit and loss responsibility, such as the head of a business unit, are held by women. “These are the better paid ExCo positions and comprise the typical path to CEO,” noted the report.

Linked to this, the report found that less than half (45%) of women in the financial services industry are likely to progress from middle to senior levels of management, relative to their male counterparts (US data) – a figure lower than in other sectors.

Even so, both male and female respondents (49% vs 41%) felt their firms are doing enough to attract and retain female talent.

But while more than half of women in the sector believed that better gender balance in senior management positions should be a top priority, only 30% of men agreed. This could be due to the finding that men and women perceive the challenges for women and the importance of gender diversity differently.

“52% of men believe that men and women have the same opportunities to be promoted in the same timeframe but only 41% of women agree,” said the report.

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