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C-suites and boards still lack diversity

Wednesday, March 13, 2013  
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Corporate diversity has grown in recent years, but women and minorities still lack substantial presence in executive suites and board rooms, according to a recent report by Calvert Investments.

While women are hired as frequently as men at some of the country’s largest public companies, neither women nor minorities hold any of the highest-paid senior executive positions in more 56 percent of the companies profiled in "Examining the Cracks in the Ceiling: A Survey of Corporate Diversity Practices of the S&P 100.” Women represent only 8 percent of the S&P 100's highest-paid executives.

The lack of diversity carries over to the boardrooms, with 19 percent of board of director positions held by women. Furthermore, while 98 company boards have women directors and 86 company boards have minority directors, only 37 companies have minority women directors.

Despite the sobering statistics, some progress has been made in diversity best practices implementation. From 2010 to 2012, six out of nine S&P 100 Index sectors show an increase of 2.1 percent in industry average diversity ratings. The overall percentage of women serving on S&P 100 boards rose from 18 percent to 19 percent during that time, with 30 companies adding at least one woman director and 25 companies adding at least one minority director. Overall recruitment of minority and women employees has also increased, with outreach efforts among S&P 100 companies rising from 74 percent to 90 percent in 2012.

"S&P 100 companies deserve modest credit for taking positive steps in the last two years on diversity,” said Barbara J. Krumsiek, chair, president and CEO of Calvert Investments Inc., "but it is important to recognize that much hard work remains to be done. Absent a real push to put more women on boards and into executive suites, the progress on diversity will end up falling far short of what needs to be done to achieve meaningful and lasting changes in corporate America.

"The bottom line here is very simple: Not only is this the right thing to do in terms of women and minorities, but it can also mean better returns for investors.”

Fifty-four percent of the companies studied disclose EEO-1 data, such as percentage of women and minority hires, which provides consumers and investors a way to determine effectiveness of diversity practices and initiatives. Thirty-nine companies in the S&P 100 do not disclose the data.

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