Women are missing from leadership ranks — even in female-dominated industries


It’s 2023, and women are still underrepresented in the ranks of senior business leaders. 

Women in the U.S. make up only 37% of the ranks of senior leadership — up just 1% since 2016 — according to a LinkedIn analysis released Wednesday

A separate analysis from the Economist said women held 41% of managerial positions in 2022, compared with 43.4% in 2016.

That’s a drop of 2%. 

The story is different for entry-level roles: On average, women make up 52% of entry-level workers, the LinkedIn survey found. However, as the roles become more senior, the number of women occupying those roles dwindles, with women accounting for 42% of managerial roles, 45% of directors, 34% of vice presidents and only 28% of C-suite executives. 

Even in industries that have more female than male workers, men outnumber women in leadership roles. In hospitals and healthcare, 70% of workers are women, yet they account for just 55% of leaders. Some 59% of workers in education are women, but only 53% of leaders are. And some 51% of workers in the accommodation industry — which includes hotels, hostels, short-term rentals, RV parks and campgrounds — are women, but only 39% of the industry’s leaders are.

Women account for 42% of managerial roles in companies, 45% of directors, 34% of vice presidents and only 28% of C-suite executives. 

For every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level to manager roles, only 87 women, and only 82 women of color, are promoted, according to McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report. At the same time, female executives are leaving companies at a historically high level, the McKinsey analysis found. For every female director who was promoted to the next level, two female directors chose to leave their company in 2021. 

Many women who left jobs in the legal field said the work culture of their company, and lack of support from management or the company, was part of the reason behind their decision, according to the 2022 Women Leaving the Law survey by data company Leopard Solutions.

“I left my law firm because there was no opportunity for advancement … I am considering leaving the law practice to work in business or to do something new altogether because I’m just tired of solving other peoples’ problems and struggling to be paid fairly and equally to men,” a respondent in the Leopard Solutions survey commented. 

The pay gap between women and men persists in the U.S., with women on average earning 82 cents for every dollar that a man made last year, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. 

For every 100 men promoted from entry-level to manager roles, only 87 women, and 82 women of color, were promoted.

— McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2022 report

There has been some progress, albeit small. The share of women being hired for leadership roles is increasing — rising to 41% in 2022 from 37% in 2015, the LinkedIn data found. Similarly, the analysis from the Economist found that the share of women on company boards grew to 31.3% in 2022, from 20.3% in 2016.

The U.S. rose one place last year in the Economist’s glass-ceiling index, ranking 19th out of 29 countries. The index measures the role and influence of women in the work force across 29 of the 38 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

“The Economist’s glass-ceiling index measures the role and influence of women in the workforce across the OECD club of mostly rich countries,” the magazine said. “Four Nordic countries — Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Norway — top the index as the best places for working women. Japan and South Korea, where women must still choose between a family or a career, fill the bottom two places.”

The index measures 10 metrics, including the gender pay gap, parental leave, the cost of childcare, educational attainment and representation in senior management and political jobs.

The U.S. scores higher than average for the labor-force participation rate, higher education, women in managerial positions and on company boards, and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) exams taken by women, However, the U.S. scored significantly lower for child-care costs, paid leave for mothers and fathers and the gender wage gap.




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