CEW ASX200 senior executive census 2020

Women in leadership Gender equity Leadership Business Australia
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The CEW ASX200 Senior Executive Census (CEW Census) tracks annual progress of gender balance and female representation in the Executive Leadership Teams (ELTs) of Australia’s biggest publicly listed companies. Commencing in 2017, the CEW Census research is supported by Bain & Company and Spencer Stuart. The business case for gender balance supporting positive culture, profitability, and productivity is clear. Despite this, the last four years have seen slow, incremental progress of women reaching senior leadership positions in the ASX200, in particular in ‘line’ roles (roles with profit and loss accountability). Line roles are critical CEO feeder roles, with 76% of CEO appointments in the last year coming from line roles, and an additional 20% from the role of CFO.

Key 2020 findings include:

  • Out of 25 CEO appointments in the past year, only one female CEO was appointed to an ASX200 company.
  • Only three of 50 CEO appointments within ASX200 companies in the past two years were women.
  • The number of female CEOs leading ASX200 companies has fallen in the past year to ten (or 5%), down from 12 in 2019 and at the lowest level since the CEW Census began four years ago.
  • Of the 25 CEOs appointed in the past year, 76% came from line role positions with profit and loss responsibility; a further 20% came from the position of Chief Financial Officer.
  • Only 30 companies, or 15% of those in the ASX200, have 40-60% women on their ELT in 2020, representing a slight increase from 2019 (12%), but nearly double the number when the CEW Census began four years ago. • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of ASX200 companies have no women in roles with profit and loss responsibility on their ELT, up from 57% last year. By contrast, there is only one company in the ASX200 with no males in ELT line roles.
  • In the ASX200, the telecommunications sector has the highest proportion of women in line roles with profit and loss responsibility, with 24% of line roles occupied by women, double the ASX200 average of 12%.
  • In industries with a predominantly female workforce, such as Health Care, there is huge under-representation in roles with profit and loss responsibility, with only 5% of leadership line roles in Health Care companies in the ASX200 filled by women, down from 15% four years ago.
  • The number of women in Chief Financial Officer roles has increased in the past four years, up from 9% in 2017 to 16% in 2020, but no increase in the past year.
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