Study: 94 Percent of Philly’s Top Companies Have a Male CEO
Philadelphia is facing a serious crisis regarding gender equality in the workplace, according to a new study. In fact, women held only 13 percent of board seats and 13 percent of executive positions at the largest 100 public companies in the Philadelphia region in 2014. That’s according to Women on Boards 2015, a report released Tuesday by the Forum of Executive Women. It also found that half of Philly’s top 100 businesses are run by all male executive teams, and 94 percent have a male CEO.
The report offered these striking statistics about Philadelphia’s top 100 companies (ranked by 2014 revenue):
- 35 have no women on their boards
- 49 have no women in their top executive ranks
- 60 have no women among their top earners
- 94 are headed by a male CEO
“Progress toward getting more women onto corporate boards and executive teams has stalled. The proportion of corporate women leaders has barely budged over the past six years,” the report says. It goes on to say “an all-out, deliberate effort to change the culture is needed to increase the ranks of women leaders both in the corporate sector and at major nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia region.”
For public companies in the Philadelphia area, there have been just incremental changes from 2009 to 2014. Women’s share of board seats increased from 11 percent to 13 percent; their share of spots on executive teams went from 11 percent to 13 percent; and their share of top earners went from 9 percent to 10 percent. Paltry gains at best.
Deanna Byrne, assurance partner at PwC, said progress has been stagnant. “Certain companies still don’t understand that having an appropriate representation of female leaders is a business imperative,” she said. “A number of studies have shown that when companies have more diversity on their boards they have better financial results.”
The report also offered insights from high-ranking women in the Philadelphia business community. Here’s a sampling:
Madeline Bell, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Lack of confidence can be an issue. A woman in the organization who had just been promoted came to talk to me. The first thing I heard her say was that she wasn’t sure she deserved the job and that men were probably thinking she didn’t deserve it. Men don’t doubt; they don’t think that way. They think they deserve a job even if they don’t meet all the criteria. Women also tend to be over-polite. I was in a meeting of physicians where there were all men and one woman, who is a well-respected physician. All the men were talking and interrupting each other. Every time the woman physician spoke or tried to say something, she raised her hand and started out with saying, I’m sorry.’ ”
Susan Story, CEO of American Water:
“You can’t just let things go along as usual and say, ‘It’s time to select a new chief financial officer and we need to select a woman or minority.’ To get more diversity at the top requires upfront planning and a multi-year process to develop a pipeline of talent that is fully representative of our customers. You have to have in place a program for training and development throughout the organization and have a commitment to diversity that extends all the way into the boardroom. We have a process to identify high potentials and ensure that there is a development plan in place for them. We revisit our list at least twice a year to make sure it is up to date and diverse.”