Study: Number of Women in Top Corporate Spots Inched Up in 2005

July 26, 2006 ( - The average growth in the percentage of corporate officer positions held by women dropped by 0.23% over the last three years, a recent analysis found.

Catalyst, a non-profit group geared toward expanding opportunities for women in the workplace, tracked female executives in the Fortune 500 companies between 2002 and 2005 and found the total number of female corporate officers increased by a slim 0.7%, to 16.4%.

Other findings of the analysis include:

  • The average Fortune 500 company had 21.8 corporate officers in 2005, and on average, women held 3.6 of these positions.
  • Women held 9.4% of clout titles (those higher than vice president), up from 7.9% in 2002.
  • More than half of the Fortune 500 had less than three female corporate officers.
  • Female CEOs led eight companies in the Fortune 500 in 2005.
  • Women held 6.4% of top earner positions, up 1.2% from 2002.
  • And 75% of Fortune 500 companies reported no women as top earners.
  • The study also found that the number of corporate officer positions women of color held stood at 1.7% and represented 1% of Fortune 500 top earners in 2005. Men of color fared slightly better, holding 6.4% of corporate officer positions.

“Smart companies know that developing and retaining top talent yields solid results,” said H. Lang, president of Catalyst, in a release about the survey. “Women have the education, expertise, experience and ambition to advance to these top positions in much greater numbers. However, this census reveals that some companies have yet to understand the compelling business case for diversity and women’s advancement or to take meaningful steps to develop and retain women leaders.”