The Management Boards of Switzerland’s Private and Public Sectors
Good news: Gender diversity is gaining momentum at Swiss companies. The percentage of women is increasing on both the supervisory and the executive boards of the country’s 100 largest employers. The gender diversity pipeline is widening, and the public sector is still leading the way. Appointments to the executive boards from inside the company are at an all-time high. The percentage of foreigners appears to be levelling off.
The share of women on the supervisory boards has broken the 20 % mark for the first time, increasing from 19 % to 21 %. Women represent 38 % of those appointed to fill vacancies (25 % in 2018), which is a new record but will not be enough if the goal of reaching 30 % by 2022 is to be met. The share of women on the executive boards, which dropped to 7 % in 2018, has climbed back to 9 % this year. At SMI companies, 10 % of executive board members and 24 % of supervisory board members are women. The outstanding trend at DAX companies of the past two years is levelling off. Gender diversity among top executives in the public sector rose from 16 % to 18 %.
Zurich, 7 March 2019 – The focus continues to be on gender diversity. Besides that, schillingreport 2019 shows exciting aspects on the composition of the top management boards of the private and public sectors. 68 % of the vacancies were recruited internally: 64 % of the women and 69 % of the men – all figures representing new highs. At 47 % overall, fewer top executives were recruited internally this year in the public sector (53 % in 2018). This figure was 46 % for the women and 48 % for the men.
Barely Half of the Companies Have Women on their Executive Boards
After dropping to 7 % in 2018, the share of women on executive boards has risen to 9 %. The companies filled 18 % of the vacancies on their executive boards (8 % in 2018) with women. Just 49 % of the companies (41 % in 2018) have women on their executive boards. «A balanced gender mix on the executive boards continues to be a generational commitment. With a shortage of skilled workers and declining immigration, we cannot put enough emphasis on this topic», says publisher Guido Schilling.
«A balanced gender mix on the executive boards continues to be a generational commitment. With a shortage of skilled workers and declining immigration, we cannot put enough emphasis on this topic»
Record Number of Internal Promotions
Of all of the vacant posts on executive boards, 68 % were filled internally (64 % in 2018). Among the new female executive board members, 64 % were recruited internally (22 % in 2018). «2018 was an outlier. Never have so few of the women on the executive boards been recruited internally. By contrast, this year represents a record in this regard for both women and men», says Schilling. «Externally appointed executive board members must always overcome two hurdles: They must find their place on the board and a connection with the company. Therefore, internal promotions should be welcome».
Share of Women on the Supervisory Board; Business Must Continue its Efforts
The share of women on supervisory boards rose from 19 % to 21 %. «In my professional life, I witness an increasing awareness for gender diversity», says Schilling. «Companies have set clear standards in this regard». There is at least one female supervisory board member at 88 % of the companies, whereby 38 % of the vacant seats went to women (25 % in 2018, with a previous high of 33 % in 2015). «Never have so many vacant seats on the supervisory boards been filled by women as they have this year», notes Schilling. «However, an increase of 2 percent points a year will not be enough to meet the goal of 30 % for women supervisory board members by 2022. The SB presidents and nomination committees are called upon to make an even greater effort to reach this ambitious goal without regulation».
«Never have so many vacant seats on the supervisory boards been filled by women as they have this year»
The Share of Foreigners has Levelled Off
The share of foreigners has levelled off at 45 % on the executive boards, and at just under 40 % on the supervisory boards. More than two-thirds of foreign executive board members were already in Switzerland or working at a Swiss company before they accepted their current post. These «nationals» make up 31 %, which means that just 14 % of the executive board members came directly from abroad to take their posts. Among new members, 39 % are «nationals» and 16 % came from abroad. «I am concerned that we continue to rely on immigration from abroad. Along with women, the “nationals” are essential for further business growth», Schilling explains.
«I am concerned that we continue to rely on immigration from abroad. Along with women, the “nationals” are essential for further business growth»
DAX: With the Quotas Met, is the Job Done?
Since 2016, listed German companies have been required to maintain a quota of women on their supervisory boards. In 2017, 43 % of the vacant DAX supervisory board seats were filled by women, with this figure reaching 48 % in 2018, or nearly half. This year, just 30 % of the vacant seats were given to women, which results in a slight increase in the share of women supervisory board members to 33 %. Among the newly appointed DAX executive board members in 2018, 30 % were women, resulting in an overall increase from 10 % to 13 %. Currently, women are appointed to just 15 % of the vacant executive board seats, and their share on the executive board has risen to just 14 %.
«I wonder if this levelling off is an effect of the regulations», says Schilling. «It remains to be seen whether the DAX companies will regain the initial momentum, or whether they consider their work to be done with the quotas having been met».
Women Continue to Gain Ground in the Public Sector
The development in the public sector improves year by year. Currently, 18 % of the top executives are women (16 % in 2018). For vacancies in the top positions this year, 38 % of the appointees were women (27 % in 2018). «The public sector has long recognised that reconciling career and family is the key to a gender diversity balance», says Schilling. «That is why the public administration manages to attract qualified female top executives very well».
«The public sector has long recognised that reconciling career and family is the key to a gender diversity balance»
Gender Diversity Pipeline: An Indicator of Trends in the Percentage of Women at the Top
The gender diversity pipeline is an important tool for anticipating future trends in the proportion of women on the executive board. For this part of the survey, the companies, the cantons and the federal administration make their data available every two years. This year, the data has been updated. In the sample of the private sector, women represent 10 % of executive board members (9 % in 2017), 16 % of senior managers (14 % in 2017), and 24 % of middle managers (21 % in 2017). «This expansion of the gender diversity pipeline lays the foundation for future favourable trends on the executive boards», says Schilling. The public sector has a significantly broader gender diversity pipeline than the private sector, with women representing 22 % of senior managers (as in 2017), and 28 % of middle managers (24 % in 2017).
The schillingreport 2019 surveys the 117 largest employers in Switzerland, as well as the federal administration and all 26 cantons. Accordingly, 875 executive board members, 820 supervisory board members, and 1034 managers in the public sector (department heads, general secretaries, cantonal chancellors) were included in the survey. For the gender diversity pipeline, data was provided by 126 of the 250 largest Swiss companies, and by 14 cantons and the federal administration.
The complete report will be available in German, French and English online in mid-May at www.schillingreport.ch.