Women still hold less than a quarter of senior management positions in privately held businesses

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5 March 2009

New research from Grant Thornton International reveals that women still hold less than a quarter of senior management positions in privately held businesses globally. 24% of senior management positions are currently held by women - a figure identical to 2007 and only a marginal improvement from 2004 when only 19% of senior level positions were held by women. 34% of privately held businesses globally have no women in senior management.

The greatest percentage of women in senior management is in the Philippines where women hold 47% of senior positions (see chart 1). They are followed by Russia (42%) and Thailand (38%). The lowest percentage continues to be in Japan where only 7% of senior management positions are held by women. Also appearing low down the league table are Denmark (13%) and Belgium (12%).

Said Lily Linsangan, partner in the Grant Thornton International member firm in the Philippines, "Women in the Philippines have really broken the proverbial 'glass ceiling', not only in the corporate world but also in government. As an auditor of more than 25 years, I have not encountered an all male management team. In our own firm, eight of the 18 partners are women and five of the seven members of the management committee are female."

Women have become most successful in increasing their share of senior management roles in Turkey (up from 17% in 2007 to 29% in 2009) and Mexico (20% in 2007 to 31%), see chart 2. The biggest falls were in Brazil, where the figure fell from 42% in 2007 to 29% in 2009, and Hong Kong (falling from 35% in 2007 to 28% in 2009).

Verónica Galindo, audit partner of Salles Sainz Grant Thornton, explains: “Mexico is a country that is standing up firmly and constantly for women’s rights and equality. It is known that women need an elevated education level to compete with men in employment, so the Mexican female sector is preparing itself more and more, and the results can be seen with the rise of 10 percentage points in this survey. However, there is still much to do regarding equal salaries compared with men, but I am certain that sooner rather than later the salary differences will decrease.”

The Grant Thornton International Business Report is an annual survey of the views of senior executives in privately held businesses all over the world. Launched in 1992 in nine European countries the report now surveys over 7,200 PHBs in 36 economies providing territory, regional and global trend data on the economic and commercial issues affecting a sector often described as the 'engine' of the world's economy. Data for eight key industry sectors will be available for the first time in 2009. The research is conducted by Experian Business Strategies Ltd. Grant Thornton International donates US$5 to UNICEF for every completed IBR questionnaire, a donation of over US$39,000 in 2008.

To find out more about the Grant Thornton International Business Report, please visit www.internationalbusinessreport.com