While women continue to prove themselves in executive roles, not nearly enough leadership positions are held by women. Similarly, most board seats tend to be held by men. Despite being underrepresented there is some evidence to suggest that women in high-level positions have guided their companies through the pandemic extremely well considering the circumstances.
A recent report by J.P. Morgan Private Bank listed the top 200 companies in the UK which were led or founded by women and ranked them based on their performance. The study showed that these firms were able to raise 41% more equity investment in 2020 compared to the previous year. This amounted to a record amount of £2.3 billion during the year that was hit the hardest by the effects of the coronavirus.
In general, 77% of the equity investment in the UK was raised by companies that are based in London. 56% of these deals were secured by female-led businesses. This consisted of 532 deals which led to a staggering amount of £1.77 billion of equity investment for the companies.
Amongst others, the study highlighted the achievements of Anne Boden, founder of Starling Bank. The bank achieved remarkable results in the years 2016 to 2019, growing from £13k to £13.5m. In those same years, the headcount increased from 31 to 497. This led the Bank, which was founded in 2014, to top the J.P. Morgan Private Bank Top 200 Female-Powered Businesses list.
The Boston Consulting Group concluded in a report in 2020 that women only control about 30% of the world’s wealth. However, the global wealth that women are adding each year is increasing. According to the study this amounts to $5 trillion every year.
Some studies have also suggested that many women prefer to be self-employed, establish their own companies or work on a freelance basis instead of following a more traditional career path. This could be in part due to the gender pay gap which may make it more rewarding for female executives to become entrepreneurs. Some successful women in business have also chosen to work in temporary management positions and have led many companies through important changes. High-level interim recruiter firms are now working with some of the best talents and offer the advantage of flexibility. One example is Joanne Crevoiserat who was recently made the CEO of New York-based Tapestry, Inc. after holding the position as interim CEO for only a few months. Even though it is becoming more common to see women in leadership positions, there are still very few women of color who hold executive roles. According to Business Insider, there have only ever been three Black women who have held CEO positions in a Fortune 500 company. The situation in the UK is even worse. In a recent article, Forbes reports that there are no Black chairmen, chief executive officers, or chief financial officers in any of Britain’s 100 largest companies. There is still much to be done. More female board members and CEOs are necessary to begin to see a change. Reports such as the survey by J.P. Morgan Private Bank help highlight the differences that still exist in high-level business roles today.