Melbourne : Over two-thirds of Australia’s chief executives intend to keep women out of senior leadership roles, a new study has revealed.
The survey from Dun and Bradstreet and support group Chief Executive Women (CEW) found 68 per cent of respondents said they would not be mandating that female candidates be included in any short list to fill senior management positions over the next six months.
Additionally, the survey also revealed that 75 per cent of Australia’s chief executives did not plan to appoint a female to a senior management position in the next three months.
CEW president Belinda Hutchinson who is also chairman of QBE insurance Group asserted that international studies have shown firms with gender diversity in their senior ranks tended to perform better on a range of measures, including return on equity.
“More needs to be done to support small and medium sized businesses increase female participation in management,” News.com.au quoted Hutchinson as saying.
The survey found that small to medium size businesses, which represent the largest employer by number in Australia, are the least likely to appoint a female to a senior position in the near future.
Just 14 per cent of companies with 6-20 workers had appointed or intended to appoint a female in a senior management role.
Across industry segments, organizations in the wholesale (25 per cent) and retail (26 per cent) sectors showed a much better commitment to appointing women into senior management roles than those in manufacturing for example (circa 20 per cent).
One-third of big businesses aim to mandate that female candidates be included in their short list of senior appointments.
According to CEW, more businesses are taking into consideration part-time senior executive roles to raise the number of women in senior management positions.
“Woolworths, for example, had 26 female executives working part-time in 2011, which has been a key factor in retaining executive women returning from maternity leave,” added Hutchinson.
The report collected responses from 1200 chief executives as part of Dun and Bradstreet’s business expectations survey and was conducted over a three-month period in the second half of calendar 2011.