Women Still Underrepresented at the Executive Level

Posted September 23, 2016 by Mary McGinley

A new study conducted by executive research firm, Korn Ferry, indicates that women are still underrepresented at the executive level.

While there is a disparity that currently exists in the top ranks of industries which include those in IT, Marketing, and financial companies, there is an exception where women make up better than half of executive positions: that of Human Resources. Women now hold 55% of executive level positions in HR departments.

The reason for this seems to have arisen because of more women being drawn toward managerial positions in functions such as HR, according to Paul Smithivas, a Chicago-based senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2015, approximately 73 percent of HR managers are women, while Smithivas points to the same data that also indicates that in other areas such as finance, marketing and IT.

“This shows that the supply of female talent is more robust in HR compared to other disciplines,” says Smithivas. “[This might be] why we’re seeing 55 percent of CHROs who are women.

The same federal figures from the BLS shows that just 28 percent of CFO and operational management positions are held by women. These are the positions which most often directly lead to the suite of the CEO.

Women who hold C-Suite positions, such as that of CHRO, according to Korn Ferry research, will have the kind of attributes that directly relate to traits desirable in CEO’s such as the ability to collaborate and negotiate as well as leadership equalities and having direct contact which can build rapport with employees. While some companies are able to see the correlation between the two positions, some companies might overlook it.


Women in positions of human resource management do tend to understand the unique challenges that many companies face. They are often best able to address issues of selection of new employees as well as help in helping current employees advance through assessing potential. Within the ranks of HR management, women have been instrumental in removing bias by looking at promotion and performance ratings, pay equity, and attitude as it relates to a company’s culture. Getting more women into the talent pipeline can help provide opportunities for mentorship, sponsorship and greater chances towards advancement at higher levels within an organization.

Women are beginning to enjoy greater levels of success within the workforce at every level, but there is still a long way to go. Helping you find the right person for the right position without gender or other bias is what we do at EinsteinHR.

We can help you accurately assess what your company’s needs are and the skills and talent that each potential candidate brings to the table we can also help you train and prepare the right person for the job so that they are ready to step into the position. With the help of our alliance partners, we can also help you with all of your payroll and benefits needs.

Contact us today at 770-962-1700 to schedule a consultation.