UC Davis: Why More Women Are Needed in Top Leadership Roles

The UC Davis Graduate School of Management has issued its 11th annual Study of California Women Business Leaders. Here’s a summary of a few key findings.

The good and the bad:

  • Good: The number of female CEOs rose from 14 to 17, for a 21 percent increase this year, and a 55 percent increase since 2006. Good: Companies in the study with women at the helm have on average 38 percent more women leaders (excluding the CEO) than those with men at the helm. The bad: these 17 CEOs still account for only 4.3 percent of the CEOs at the 400 companies
  • Good: Technology companies have come a long way. Excluding utilities, which are regulated, the industry with the highest percentage of women directors is technology software. Five Silicon Valley companies made the top 25 on the UC Davis list. (Arista Networks Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., NETGEAR Inc., Verifone Systems Inc., and Yahoo! Inc.). The bad: 30 Silicon Valley companies still have no female highest-paid executives and board directors.
  • Good: The top 25 most gender-diverse companies in California have a median return on assets and equity that are at least 74 percent higher than for the entire sample of 400 publicly owned companies in the study.
  • Good: The number of companies with no women in director and highest-paid executive positions dropped below 100 for the first time in the UC Davis study. This is a 35 percent change since 2010. The bad: The largest concentration of those 92 companies (30) do business in Santa Clara County.
  • Good and bad: Since 2006, when the study began tracking the largest 400 companies in California, the share of female directors has risen by 4.4 percentage points — incremental, but that is a 50 percent increase. The bad: 70 percent of companies still have none or only one woman on their board.
  • Good: The top company for women leaders, on the top 25 list for six years now, is Williams-Sonoma Inc., with 57 percent female leaders — the highest percentage in the study’s history. Including CEO Laura Alber, four of Williams-Sonoma’s five highest-paid executives are women, and the upscale home furnishings company has four women on its nine-person board.

Video: Dean Ann Huff Stevens discusses the study

UC Davis: Why More Women Are Needed in Top Leadership Roles

Dean Ann Huff Stevens talks about the Graduate School of Management’s study results and points out the opportunity for California to take the lead in increasing women’s presence in corporate leadership nationwide.

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