Women held only about 10% of the top executive positions at U.S. companies in 2016-17, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of federal securities filings by all companies in the benchmark Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500 stock index. “Top positions” are defined as chief executive officers, chief financial officers and the next three highest paid executives.
Only 5.1% of chief executives of S&P 1500 companies were women. The percentage of female CEOs is not likely to change because another survey — 2017 HR@Moore Survey of Chief Human Resource Officers conducted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina – found that women made up only 10% of the short-term CEO candidate pool (i.e., people who’d be considered for promotion to CEO within the next three years).
The scarcity of women in top positions is true not only in business but also in the fields of politics and government, academia and the nonprofit sector.