Women in the Boardroom – The Global Conversation

Entrepreneur magazine recently released an article featuring Virgin Group business magnate Richard Branson on the need for more women in global boardrooms. Branson commented that “At Virgin, we have seen a number of women rise to senior positions over the years. At present, Virgin Money and Virgin Holidays are run by female CEOs.”

Unfortunately, Virgin is an exception rather than the rule. Although more women are in the workforce than ever before, few women still manage to make it to the most senior ranks, and even fewer hold board seats.

According to the European Commission, less than 14% of board positions at the largest companies are filled by women. The commission favors a legal measure to impose sanctions on companies throughout the EU that have less than 40% of women on their boards.

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 47% of the workforce in the U.S. is composed of women. However, men still far outweigh the number of women at the senior level and in board rooms.

BlueSteps and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) have enacted new initiatives to raise awareness around the issue. Last month, BlueSteps offered a promotional discount to female executives on BlueSteps membership, to raise their profiles to executive search consultants at search firms worldwide that are members of the AESC. These new members were encouraged to specify their board interest in their BlueSteps profiles. Executive recruiters at AESC member firms worldwide will have access to these new profiles and a go-to source when searching for women to fill board positions.

BlueSteps has also interviewed women who currently serve on boards and recently released a podcast with AESC President, Peter Felix, in conversation with Julie Daum of North American Board Practice at AESC member search firm, Spencer Stuart. The AESC has been working with various organizations for women in business to raise awareness around the issue and to foster dialogue to help better balance the statistics.
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About the author

This article was written by Joe Chappell, Managing Director, Global Marketing at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.


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