No Limits

Despite a strong female presence at senior level in boardrooms around the country, remarkably few women occupy top jobs. Here, c-suite businesswomen in TOP 1000 companies tell FIONA REDDAN how women can help themselves, and each other, to continue achieving.
Gender Diversity in the Top1000 companies

Earlier this year Vanity Fair ran a cover story on the woman hired to save Yahoo. “Will Success Spoil Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer?” the US publication asked. It’s difficult to imagine the magazine – or indeed any publication – running the same headline alongside a male CEO. Could success, for example, spoil Microsoft’s newly appointed Satya Nadella or Albert Manifold of Ireland’s largest company, CRH?

Yes, women are making progress in the corporate world in greater numbers than ever before. But are they being held back in business by traditional stereotyping? In a survey of the “c-suite” of Ireland’s Top1000 companies, which examined the gender of senior management in each of the organisations included in this year’s magazine, our survey found that 25 per cent of all c-suite roles among Ireland’s Top1000 companies are now held by women. This compares favourably with a recent study in the US, which showed that about 15 per cent of similar roles are held by women.


Gender Diversity in the Top1000 companies


Gender Diversity in the Top1000 companies

How the survey was conducted

THE SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED in March and April of this year by a team of researchers with a view to determining the gender composition of the “c-suite” of Ireland’s Top1000 companies.

“C-suite” is a term that originated in the US and typically refers to the leadership team of a company consisting of people with job titles featuring the word “chief” in the title – ie chief executive officer or chief technology officer. However, as it’s not always directly applicable in an Irish context, we have applied the term to a broader range of professionals in executive management positions, whether they are “chief” or not – ie CEO/managing director; CFO/finance director; COO/head of operations; chief commercial director/head of sales; HR director; head of marketing/ marketing director etc.

In smaller companies, the “c-suite” is obviously more condensed, with some finance directors also performing the HR function etc. Some caveats to bear in mind when considering the research: despite the best efforts of researchers, it was not possible to determine the executive team at all Top1000 companies. In addition, some companies – despite their scale in some cases − only have a limited number of employees on the ground in Ireland.