More women are chief executives at California’s largest 400 public companies, but they still hold just 12 percent of senior executive and director positions, according to an annual study by the University of California-Davis.
While the percentage of women in corporate leadership positions has inched up from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 12.3 percent in 2015, the findings underscored one main point: Despite improvements, the glass ceiling is still intact.
While the number of female chief executives rose from 14 to 17, the figure represented just 4.3 percent of the 400 chief executive positions, according to the study. The number of companies with no women serving as director or in their highest-paid executive positions decreased by 33 percent since 2010, but still stands at 92.
In addition to Skechers, Los Angeles-area companies including VCA Antech Inc, j2 Global, BBCN Bancorp, Cheesecake Factory Inc., TrueCar Inc. and others, are among the 92 companies with no women among the highest-paid executives or board directors.
“There are some household names on that list— TiVo, Skechers, Habit Restaurants — I personally own a TiVo and wear Skechers shoes so it’s very disappointing,” said Amanda Kimball, a research specialist at UC-Davis who authored the study. “Those are the companies we really want to get the message out to because it’s so important to have a variety of perspectives on leadership and decision making teams.”
Overall, Los Angeles has one of the lowest percentages of female directors at 11.6 percent.
A majority of all 400 companies analyzed, however, still have no women among their highest-paid executives. The percentage of women reported to be highest-paid executives rose to 10.5 percent in 2015 from 7.8 percent in 2007, the first year data were collected, for a 35 percent increase over time.
In conducting the study, Kimball also looked at median total compensation among men and women in distinct roles.
“There was a very clear pattern that women are most present in roles like general counsel, secretary and treasurer, which have comparatively lower median compensation,” Kimball said. “Women were very rare in roles with the highest median compensation like chairman of the board, president and vice president, which are of course the roles with the most status and power.”
The study, which has been conducted annually since 2005, analyzes gender diversity at corporate giants in the Golden State using data reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission as of Aug. 31, 2015.
In September 2013, the study noted, the California Legislature passed the first resolution in the country calling for more women on corporate boards. The UC-Davis study shows that only 17.5 percent, or 70 of the 400 largest public companies in California, have met the resolution’s nonbinding standards.
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