European companies make further progress on number of women in leadership roles

7 March 2016

One of the greatest challenges for industrial companies is to increase the number of women in the talent pipeline, in the management of operations, and in executive roles. It is in the interest of companies, and Europe’s prosperity, to better involve the vast female talent pool.

More women are gradually finding their way in leadership positions. The progress seen compared to last year is encouraging but still more can be done to include women and promote diversity in management and in executive roles. Our yearly updates challenge us to reconsider our targets and to improve, while in making our efforts public, we raise women’s awareness that companies are committed to recruiting and developing them in leadership positions.

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu - Solvay
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu
Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO

Since 2012, ERT has published company-specific targets and figures on the involvement of women in business. In this way, our member companies want to demonstrate their commitment to the enhancement of women’s career opportunities. Measuring performance also ensures appropriate management attention.

For this March 2016 update, 30 ERT Member companies have reported their voluntary target for the number of women in leadership positions. These targets fit each company’s own situation and take account of the sometimes large variations between industry sectors and country cultures. The yearly update requires each company to review its targets and report on year-on-year progress.

Also this year, for nearly all companies, the share of women both in the total workforce and in leadership positions has increased, both compared to the baseline and to the figures reported last year. Compared to last year the average share of women in leadership positions has increased by about 1 percentage point.

The increase of the number of women in leadership positions compared to the baseline year (around 3.5 percentage points) is on average higher than the increase of the share of women in the total workforce (around 0.7 percentage points). Moreover, because the share of management positions in the total workforce is slightly increasing (about 0.8 percentage points) the number of women in leadership positions in absolute terms is increasing even slightly more. This indicates  that more women are finding their way to leadership positions and that companies monitoring these figures are progressing.