In Industry

Australian Bureau Of Statistics

Slow Growth At The Top As Challenges Remain For Female CEO’s

Victor P Taffa

1 in every 6 CEO’s of non-public sector organisations is a woman and the rate are increasing slowly, according to the Gender Indicators, Australia report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Program Manager, Dean Bowley said the proportion of CEO’s who are female had increased by less than 1 percentage point to 16.5 % between 2013-14 and 2016-17.


“However, there are more notable increases in the rate of women in other leadership positions, particularly those roles that help influence decisions within organisations. Over the same period, the proportion of female key management personnel, general managers and other executives increased by 3 percentage points with females now occupying around 30 % of these roles.” Mr. Bowley said.

Mr. Bowley said the report provided a range of other indicators that reflected the changing roles and circumstances of women and men in Australian society.

Young women are continuing to achieve higher levels of education than young men. As of 2017, about 45 % of women had attained a bachelor’s degree or above by the age of 30, compared to 32 % of men. After graduating, the median starting salary in 2017 for full-time employed women was $59,000 while for men it was $60,100.

“Despite this progress, there are still plenty of challenges. The gender pay gap has remained stable over the last decade, with women earning 89 % of the earnings of men, taking into account the differences in working hours. Superannuation balances for women approaching retirement are 37 % lower than men.” Mr. Bowley said.

Average superannuation balance for women approaching retirement (55-64 years old) was $196,000, while for men it was $310,000.

Mr. Bowley said that a key influence on the gap in superannuation balances was the higher proportion of women employed part-time. Almost 3 times as many employed women (44 %) worked part-time, when compared to employed men (16 %).

Explanatory Notes:

  • CEO, or Chief Executive Officer, refers to the highest ranking corporate officer (executive) or an administrator in charge of management of an employing organisation.
  • Key management personnel have authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of an entity, directly or indirectly and participate in organisation-wide decisions with the CEO.
  • General managers and other executives hold primary responsibility for a department or a business unit or their equivalent, but in a large organisation might not participate in organisation-wide decisions with the CEO.
  • CEO and other leadership data are based on non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees in Australia. ABS acknowledge the Workplace Gender Equality Agency for this information.

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