Glass ceiling: the good and bad points of the Skema Observatory of the feminization of companies

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L'Observatoire Skema de la féminisation des entreprises a publié le 1er mars un rapport pour analyser la présence des femmes au sein des comités exécutifs.

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Companies with at least 50 employees know it: their professional equality index is scrutinized and the image stake is high, as we recalled in our survey published last week. They had until March 1 to calculate it and publish it on their website. The goal of this device voted by parliamentarians in September 2018: to advance equal pay between men and women in the company.

Another index, also expected, was put online the same day: the inequality index, published by the Skema Observatory on the feminization of companies. This index measures the thickness of the glass ceiling of large companies. How? ‘Or' What ? By looking at the gap between the percentage of women executives and the percentage of women on the executive committee.

Verdict of the 2021 edition: only 20.37% of the members of the executive committees of CAC 40 companies are women. However, they represent 33.72% of the executive population, a traditional pool for recruiting leaders, indicates the author of the study Michel Ferrary, professor of management at the University of Geneva and researcher affiliated with Skema Business School, at the head of the Observatory since its creation in 2008.

“Male” and “male” companies

These figures and these differences vary greatly from company to company. Thus, Vivendi won the prize for the worst student, and therefore, the “lemon price of the glass ceiling” which goes hand in hand. Its executive committee is composed only of men, while the company has 49% of women among its executives. Last year, this prize was awarded to Hermès.

In the ranking of companies with the greatest inequality indices, Vivendi is closely followed by LVMH [propriétaire du groupe Les Echos], EssilorLuxottica and BNP Paribas. The latter are part of what Michel Ferrary calls “chauvinist” companies, eight in number. They have a proportion of women in management positions above the CAC 40 average and despite this, their percentage of women in the executive committee is below average, or even zero.

In other companies, “The low representation of women on the executive committee reflects the low percentage of women in the pool of management”, says the study. Michel Ferrary speaks of “male” companies and counts twelve of them. Among them: Bouygues, Veolia, ArcelorMittal, Vinci …

“Amazon” and “female” companies

On the other hand, Michel Ferrary notices that companies have a high percentage of women on their executive committee, reflecting the high percentage of women in management. “And an affirmed policy for the professional advancement of women”, emphasizes the study. He calls them “women's” businesses and has twelve of them. Among them: Danone, Publicis, Pernod Ricard… Danone also won the “Orange Prize for Professional Promotion” because the company exploits its large pool of female executives. 51% of managerial positions are held by women, and the company stands out with three women in its executive committee out of seven members (ie 43%).

Finally, the researcher distinguishes very proactive companies. In these groups, the proportion of women in the executive committee is higher than that of women in management. The professor speaks of “Amazon” companies. In the lead, Dassault Systèmes, followed by Legrand, Capgemini, Air Liquide, Engie and Orange.

Copé-Zimmermann law: “No runoff”

Despite the voluntarism of certain groups, it is clear that the quotas of 40% of women introduced on boards of directors following the Copé-Zimmermann law, passed just ten years ago, have only had little effect on executive committees.

With this law, some hoped for a “trickle-down effect”. “We said to ourselves that this would put pressure on the DGs to feminize the executive committees, which are not subject to quotas”, indicates Michel Ferrary, also member of the High Council for equality between women and men. A decade later, the clear finding: ” It did not work. “

In order for large groups to become more active, this researcher pleads for the establishment of quotas in executive committees. Companies also have every interest in feminizing their executive committee. “”The operational profitability over one year of the ten companies whose executive committee is the most feminized is 68.80% higher than those of the ten whose executive committee is the least feminized (and 48.42% over 5 years)”, specifies the study. Better economic performance therefore, but also better corporate social responsibility, if we are to believe the Observatory. “”The social responsibility of the ten companies whose executive committee is the most feminized is 29.70% better than those of the ten whose executive committee is the least feminized”, can we read.

Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy, said he was in favor of the establishment of quotas for “managers”. Today, women occupy only 2.5% of the 80 positions of chairman / managing director / CEO of CAC 40 companies: none is CEO, none is chair of a board of directors, two are directors general, recalls the study.

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