On International Women’s Day, a new report based on Grant Thornton’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies reveals the global proportion of senior business roles held by women has hit a high of 25%.

08.03.2017 - 12:32:01

Global survey finds 1 in 4 senior business roles now held by women, but pace of change is glacial. However, the figure is an increase of just one percent from 2016, and has only improved six percent in the 13 years since the research began.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader for tax services at Grant Thornton International Ltd, said: “This year, businesses have reached a milestone, with a quarter of senior roles held by women for the first time. But this is a marginal improvement and we’re still only halfway there. Despite evidence linking diversity and improved business performance, the global dial is shifting at a painfully slow rate. This is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we aren’t maximising the potential out there.”

Countries with the highest proportion of senior roles held by women are Russia (47%), Indonesia (46%), Estonia (40%), Poland (40%) and Philippines (40%). The countries with the lowest are Japan (7%), Argentina (15%), India (17%), Germany (18%), Brazil (19%) and the United Kingdom (19%).

While the most common senior roles for women are still Human Resources Director (23%) and Chief Financial Officer (19%), Chief Executive Officer / Managing Director is now third at 12% in 2017, up from 9% in 2016.

Grant Thornton’s report also explores the role of gender when it comes to spotting and managing risks. To obtain a copy, go to


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