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United States ranks in bottom 10 performing countries for women in senior management roles

Friday, March 7, 2014 9:00 am CST

Dateline:

CHICAGO
"It’s no longer feasible for U.S. businesses to adopt a sit and wait policy when it comes to promoting women to senior management roles, particularly when so many other nations —developed and emerging — are more rapidly realizing the benefits of diverse senior leadership"

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States ranks in the bottom 10 performing countries for women in senior management roles, according to new research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), a survey of 6,700 business leaders in 45 countries.

The United States cites just 22 percent of senior roles occupied by women, a minute increase from the previous year (20 percent). Japan at 9 percent and Denmark, which dropped nine percentage points to 14 percent, both hold spots in the bottom eight. Interestingly, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and China top the list, with Russia ranking as the best country for women in senior management at 43 percent. Other top 10 performing countries include the growth economies of Latvia, Thailand and Philippines. In BRIC nations, 32 percent of senior business leaders are women, up four percentage points from the previous year.

“It’s no longer feasible for U.S. businesses to adopt a sit and wait policy when it comes to promoting women to senior management roles, particularly when so many other nations —developed and emerging — are more rapidly realizing the benefits of diverse senior leadership,” said Erica O’Malley, Grant Thornton LLP’s national managing partner of Diversity & Inclusion.

Many economies cite decreases in the percentages of women obtaining boardroom positions, including the BRIC nations, down six percentage points from last year to 20 percent. In the G7, 15 percent of board members are women, down one percentage point from last year. In the United States, just 16 percent of board members are women, revealing no change since last year. Globally, 45 percent of businesses said they would support the idea of quotas for the number of women on executive boards of large listed companies, up from 37 percent in 2013.

Globally, an average of just 21 percent of new graduates joining companies are women. When asked what proportion of graduate intake are women, 20 percent of U.S. businesses cite just 1 to 10 percent are women.

The IBR data also reveals that only 11 percent of businesses globally have a program to support and mentor women. Globally, 70 percent of businesses cite that they are not considering starting such programs, while 13 percent are considering mentor programs for executive women.

About Grant Thornton LLP

Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. Grant Thornton International Ltd and its member firms are not a worldwide partnership, as each member firm is a separate and distinct legal entity. In the United States, visit Grant Thornton LLP at grantthornton.com.

Notes to editors

The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 12,500 businesses per year across 45 economies. This unique survey draws upon 21 years of trend data for most European participants and 10 years for many non-European economies. For more information, please visit: www.internationalbusinessreport.com

Data collection

Data collection is managed by Grant Thornton International's core research partner – Experian. Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. Fieldwork is undertaken on a quarterly basis. The research is carried out primarily by telephone.

Sample

IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses. The data for this release are drawn from interviews with 6,700 businesses from all industry sectors across the globe conducted during November 2013 and February 2014. The target respondents are chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives.

About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is one of the world's leading organisations of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms. These firms help dynamic organisations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, forward looking advice. Proactive teams, led by approachable partners in these firms, use insights, experience and instinct to understand complex issues for privately owned, publicly listed and public sector clients and help them to find solutions. More than 35,000 Grant Thornton people, across over 100 countries, are focused on making a difference to clients, colleagues and the communities in which we live and work.

"Grant Thornton" refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. GTIL and each member firm is a separate legal entity. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL does not provide services to clients. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another's acts or omissions.

Multimedia Files:

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Proportion of senior business roles held by women - country league table (Graphic: Business Wire)

Contact:

Grant Thornton
Kristen Bugaris, 312.602.8277
kristen.bugaris@us.gt.com

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