SA women in senior positions outperforming global counterparts

Business women in South Africa at present retain 27 percent of of the overall senior management positions, outperforming the worldwide average of 20 percent, the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) has disclosed.

“The undeniable fact that South Africa outperforms the worldwide average could very well be associated with the focus placed by government on gender equality and employment equity. Having said that, even though the South African government maintains an outstanding record with numerous women in senior positions, the private sector business community continues to have a considerable way to go, especially in the functions that women perform,” said partner and head of corporate finance at Grant Thornton, Jeanette Hern.


The studies according to the accounting and consulting firm were disclosed the other day on International Women’s Day. The IBR offers understanding of the opinions along with expectations of more than 11 000 businesses per year spanning 39 economies, along with the US and Brazil.

The market research at the same time reveals that the percentage of Privately Held Businesses (PHBs) in the country which happen to have absolutely no women in senior management positions whatsoever seems to have dropped from 27 percent in 2009 to 23 percent, completely at odds with the worldwide average (which has escalated) to 38 percent in comparison to 35 percent in 2009.


Twenty-one percent of the women in senior management positions are typically employed as human resources directors, followed very closely by financial positions which include chief financial officer at 20 percent. Sales directors and marketing representatives constitute nine and eight percent respectively.

Just three percent of South African organizations interviewed employ a female chief executive officer, which happens to be five percent lower than the eight percent international average.
“Our available data for the functions that women perform in privately held companies are in accordance with research carried out on companies listed on the JSE. As indicated by a study carried out by the Businesswomen’s Association, fewer than five percent of JSE listed companies currently have women CEOs,” explained Hern.

Hern acknowledged that until such time as businesses and organizations break the way of thinking that women are only suited for HR and finance roles, “we will be unable to correctly harness the additional value that women can contribute to the workplace.”

Eastern Cape companies possess the largest percentage of women in senior positions at 33 percent, followed by Gauteng at 28 percent. Cape Town is in third place at 27 percent and then Durban at the lowest proportion at 26 percent.The market research disclosed that G7 nations lag behind the worldwide average, with no more than 16 percent of women having senior functions.

Women have turned out to be for the most part highly effective when it comes to improving their share of senior management roles in Thailand, Hong Kong, Greece, Belgium and Botswana, from where the percentage of women within these functions seems to have considerably increased by a minimum of seven percent since 2009.

“All of us can not afford to be complacent, relying upon the fact that we have been outperforming our international counterparts. Unquestionably the most recent financial meltdown seems to have brought to the forefront the necessity for organizations and businesses to generally be sufficiently flexible and additionally ready to accept change in order to survive. The diverse perspective that women are able to bring is extremely crucial in our ever changing and complex world,” said Hern.

Source: BuaNews, randstad.com, miller-mccune.com, aprildryan.com, thehimalayanbeacon.com, usaid.gov

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