schillingreport 2021

Editorial

In the past few months, I have often been asked if companies were going to reach the targeted gender-balanced representation threshold in supervisory and executive boards as required by law. From my point of view, the answer is clearly yes. In supervisory boards, the share of women currently stands at 24%, so it is already and without a doubt in the foreseeable future. And companies have created the necessary conditions for executive boards as well.

When last year the private sector employed 10% women in executive management for the first time, I never imagined that they would already reach the 13% mark just one year later. After years of homeopathic steps, we have for the first time registered an increase of 3 percentage points. The companies have undoubtedly moved past their 15-year «awareness-raising phase» regarding the goal of a balanced gender mix in management boards and have now arrived in the «awareness phase». In the coming years, I therefore anticipate a significantly faster increase in the share of women in executive management than in the past. This momentum is based on the growing realization of companies – in other words their awareness – that practiced gender diversity is crucial to business success.

I am particularly pleased that half of the newly appointed female executive managers have taken on responsibility along the value-added chain in the companies’ core businesses. Women are being increasingly employed in core business functions and no longer mainly in purely service roles, such as human resource managers or communication managers. Why is this important? If companies want to achieve a true gender mix, they must ensure that women and men are equally represented in all business segments and that women assume fundamental duties in the core business.

We have been measuring the potential for young female talent directly in the companies for six years when we survey the gender diversity pipeline, i.e. the share of women on management levels below executive management. That the Swiss economy attaches great importance to the gender diversity pipeline is demonstrated alone in the fact that more and more organizations are prepared to contribute toward better transparency. The number of companies that currently provide us with their data has risen from 129 to 145, the number of participating cantons has increased from 14 to 16. Equally heartening are the results: The pipeline has recently extended to all management levels. The companies – and to an even greater extent public administrations – have a steadily growing potential for women in top management jobs amongst their young talent.   

Another noteworthy finding resulted from the analysis of demographics at the top of operative management: The average age of newly appointed CEOs has gone up since 2007 from 47 to 55. In the first decade of the 2000s, there was an outright obsession with youth in regard to newly elected CEOs; several new CEOs were at that time even under 40 years old. However, for a few years I cannot help but feel that supervisory boards are playing it safe and relying on experienced managers, who have already proven themselves in critical situations. I wonder whether this rather conservative approach will ensure business success in the long term during times of increasingly dynamic and disruptive innovation cycles.

Don’t miss the highly inspirational interviews with prominent figures in the private and public sectors. I hope you find this a stimulating and interesting read.

Yours faithfully, Guido Schilling

1 Executive Summary

The Swiss economy has experienced sustained positive development in terms of gender diversity and has undeniably entered the awareness phase in this generational project. This is manifested in the record highs in the share of women on executive and supervisory boards. The share of women in executive management  has increased for the first time by 3 percentage points (+ 30%) from 10% to the all-time high of 13%. The number of female CEOs has also increased from 3 to 5 – and will grow to 8 in the current year. The public sector already employs 21% women in management. A consistently broader gender diversity pipeline in all sectors enables us to look to the future with confidence.

The Management Boards of Switzerland’s Private and Public Sector

Record-High Increase of Share of Women in Executive Management
For the first time, the share of women in executive management has risen by 30%, or 3 percentage points, to 13%; not until last year was the 10% mark crossed. The share of women in executive management of SMI companies is slightly higher at 14%. If this momentum continues the legally stipulated gender-balanced representation threshold of 20% women on executive boards should be reached by the end of 2030. Efforts are therefore clearly required by the 42% of companies that do not have any women at their top management.

Federal Administration points the Way
The public sector reinforces its pioneering role in regard to gender diversity. The share of women who hold senior positions in the federal administration and cantons has increased to 21%, after 20% and 18% in the two previous years, respectively. A gender balance was achieved for appointments to senior positions by the federal government: 50% of the vacancies were filled with men and women each in the past year. The cantons lag behind with 27% women (previous year 36%).

A broad Gender Diversity Pipeline ensures sustainable Success
The key indicator to anticipate future trends in the representation of women on executive boards/in top management is the gender diversity pipeline. For 5 years, companies have been investing substantially in greater gender diversity in middle management and are now reaping the rewards of their efforts. In the private sector sample, the share of women in middle management comes to 25% (2019 24%) and in top management to 18% (2019 16%). The pipeline is more extensive in the public sector, which already shows 29% both in middle and in top management (2019 28% and 22%).

Women advance in Core Business Functions
Never before have so many women been appointed to core business functions in executive management of the private sector: 52% (previous year 39%) of the new female executive managers have taken on a revenue or performance-relevant role. Only 48% (previous year 61%) assumed a service role, for instance in Human Resources or Legal. In regard to the existing female executive managers, nearly two-thirds (65%) are responsible for service functions.

More Female CEOs
With 5 women in a CEO position, the highest level, previously achieved in 2017, has been matched. As things currently stand this year, 8 (3 in 2020) of the largest employers will be led by a woman (7%). The average term of office of departing CEOs has remained stable at 5.5 years. The average age of newly appointed CEOs has risen from 50 to 55 years since 2017, whereas the average age of all CEOs was also 55.

At least one Woman on 9 out of 10 Supervisory Boards 
With 24% (previous year 23%) a new record was reached in the share of women on supervisory boards as well. Slightly over every third vacant seat (34%, previous year 32%) was filled with a woman. The strongest gains were in companies with 3 or 4 female board members: their share doubled in the last 4 years from 16% to 32%, which has been a significant driving force. Concurrently, the percentage of companies with no or only one woman on the board sank from 53% to 35%. A particularly encouraging development is that we now see a woman serving on 90% of the boards. The gender-balanced representation threshold for supervisory boards will be easily reached by the end of 2025. In SMI the share of women on supervisory boards is already at 27%, so that the gender-balance threshold should already be reached by 2023. All 20 SMI companies have at least one woman on their supervisory board.

Increasingly Competence-Based Configuration on Supervisory Boards
Traditionally, supervisory board members have been selected from the networks of the serving members of the board. As complexity increases, the board members have become more oriented toward the core business, the key markets and the technological challenges of the company as well as the governance requirements. This is manifested in the current configuration of the supervisory boards: 61% have an operative general management background in the core business, in the key markets or the technological challenges, 39% have governance expertise. Broken down according to gender, 66% (2015 68%) of the men and 46% (2015 39%) of the women have a general management profile.

2 Introduction

For 16 years now, guido schilling ag has collected data on the composition of the executive and supervisory boards of the 100 largest Swiss companies. Four years ago, we began looking at the public sector, analysing the top management of all 26 cantons and the federal administration. In addition, guido schilling ag makes a request every 2 years for the 250 largest Swiss companies to disclose their statistics on the gender diversity pipeline to determine the potential for women in upper and middle management. The schilling report seeks to create «Transparency at the Top», and this is why it is recognised as an independent source for in-depth analysis of Switzerland’s management positions.

The statistics on the executive and supervisory boards of Switzerland’s 100 largest employers were gathered by the guido schilling ag internal project team. Our own research, personal interviews and direct enquiries, even at companies that do not normally make their statistics public, are what make the results of the survey so meaningful. The data completeness rate is 97% for the executive boards and 99% for the supervisory boards. The statistics on the public sector were also gathered by the internal project team, and verified by the majority of cantons, as well as the federal administration.

The 250 most important companies were surveyed directly for statistics on the gender diversity pipeline, since this data is not publicly available or researchable. The survey of the 100 largest companies and the public sector, as well as on the gender diversity pipeline, was completed on 31 December 2020.

Statistics are also gathered on the subgroups of women, foreigners, SMI companies, as well as CEOs and supervisory board presidents, to examine trends and developments there.

This year, the schillingreport includes a series of interviews with CEOs, as well as a female representative of the public sector. In addition to the data gathered and analysed, these interviews offer interesting and diverse insights.

3 General Information about the Report

Since five years the survey of Switzerland’s largest employers additionally includes the public sector and the composition of its top management, as well as the gender diversity pipeline of the 250 largest Swiss companies. This expanded content included some important findings in the first year, and will also reveal exciting developments in the coming years. The internal project team used the broadest possible channels to conduct its research for the schillingreport, gathering additional data directly from the companies. Even companies that rarely disclose information have provided statistics that are unavailable to the general public. The consistency of the data continues to be solid in the report’s 16th year of publication.

Annex

For the schillingreport, an additional Annex has been prepared with comprehensive information on the results of the new surveys of the public sector and gender diversity pipelines. The Annex also contains additional information on the educational background of board members, languages spoken in the public sector etc., not included in the report, therefore providing a broad overview of the survey samples. All of the statistics gathered from 2006 to 2016 for the traditional schillingreport, with an analysis of Switzerland’s 100 largest employers, are available in a separate Annex.

The Samples

A list of all companies included in the survey is found at the end of the Report. For better orientation, several of the samples on the list are highlighted by an appropriate colour to distinguish between them.

Private Sector
Switzerland's 100 Largest Employers
Public Sector
26 Cantons and the Federal Administration
Gender Diversity Pipeline
Survey of the 250 Largest Swiss Companies
Executive BoardsSupervisory BoardsTop Officials
Federal Chancellor
Cantonal Chancellors
General Secretaries
Department Heads
Federal Councillors/
Government Councillors
Executive Boards
Senior Management
Middle Management
General Workforce
Supervisory Boards

The sample of the private economy, with the 100 largest Swiss employers, continues to be designated in the survey as the Private Sector, as it has been since 2006. The gender diversity pipeline sample, for which the 250 most important Swiss companies were surveyed, is titled Gender Diversity Pipeline. The 20 Swiss Market Index (SMI) companies were surveyed separately for both the private sector and the gender diversity pipeline. The public sector sample includes all 26 cantons, as well as the federal administration. The survey of the 100 largest companies and the public sector, as well as the gender diversity pipeline, for which the statistics have been updated this year, was completed on 31 December 2020.

Regarding the gender diversity pipeline, the situation at the two management levels below the executive board were also examined to determine whether there was any potential for the women there to move up to the next level. Senior management refers to the management teams of the executive board members, and middle management refers to those who directly report to senior management. Thus, the survey provides an overview of the three top operational management levels of the companies. For comparison purposes, the corresponding statistics for the entire workforce are examined.

The size of the samples can vary from question to question. This is because the complete data from all individuals is not available for some survey questions. With few exceptions, all percentages are rounded off to whole numbers in accordance with accepted rules, since decimal places reflect an unrealistic precision.

The survey places special emphasis on new members joining the management boards during the survey period, since this is often the best way to identify new developments and trends.

The private sector sample includes both corporate groups as well as subsidiaries that meet the criteria for selection. This apparent duplication is necessary because some subsidiaries have a dominant position on the Swiss market. For example, the survey includes both the parent company, Zurich Insurance Group, and the Swiss subsidiary, Zurich Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG. Another example of this in this report is UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, with their subsidiaries, UBS Switzerland AG and Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG. Subsidiaries, branches and corporate divisions were consistently omitted in the survey of the supervisory boards.

Executive Boards/Top Managers/Gender Diversity PipelinePrivate SectorPublic SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline
202120202021202020212019
Total companies/organisations surveyed1381382727250249
Companies/organisations actually included in the report119100%118100%27100%27100%145100%129100%
Complete information available11597%11597%2074%2074%13291%11791%

The size of the private sector sample varies over the years due to mergers, takeovers and the structure of SMIs. A company may also undergo internal changes so that it no longer meets the criteria for inclusion in the schillingreport. For the private sector, the schilling report currently surveys 891 executive board members at 119 companies. For the public sector, 1031 top executives in 26 cantons and in the federal administration are included in the survey. Of the 250 companies approached for the gender diversity pipeline survey, 145 made their statistics available.

Supervisory Boards/Top Managers/Gender Diversity PipelinePrivate SectorPublic SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline
202120202021202020212019
Total companies/organisations surveyed99992727250249
Companies/organisations actually included in the report92100%90100%27100%27100%145100%129100%
Complete information available9199%8696%27100%27100%13794%12194%

The sample of the supervisory boards in the private sector is smaller than that of the executive boards, since the supervisory boards of Swiss subsidiaries and corporate divisions were not included. Inclusion of these boards would distort the picture of the sample. The schillingreport currently surveys 841 supervisory board members at 92 companies. For the public sector, 160 federal/governing council members were surveyed to determine the percentage of women. For the gender diversity pipeline, the supervisory boards of 137 companies were examined.

Breakdown of the Surveyed Companies by Industry

For the private sector, the 2021 schillingreport surveyed 119 companies from 11 different industries. The predominant industries were the manufacturing sector (36), and retail/consumer goods (17). There are 25 companies from the financial services sector, i.e. insurance and banking.

For the gender diversity pipeline survey, 145 companies from 11 different industries were surveyed. The predominant industries in this survey were banking and manufacturing, with 33 from each being surveyed. There are 43 companies from the financial services sector, i.e. insurance and banking, in this survey.

4 Management Boards of the Private and Public Sectors

The first section of the schillingreport concerns the composition of the executive and supervisory boards of the private sector, and that of the posts held by senior executives, as well as those on federal and cantonal government councils of the public sector.

4.1 Composition of the Boards

Executive Boards and Senior Managers

Composition of the EBs and Senior ManagementPrivate SectorPublic Sector
Overall SampleNewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies/organisations11927
Total members891100%121100%1031100%109100%
Number of women11213%3126%22021%3229%
Number of men77987%9074%81179%7771%
Number of Swiss members50557%7360%
Number of foreigners38643%4840%
Number of new members12114%10911%

Between 2006 and 2016, the proportion of women on executive boards rose from 4% to 6%, the proportion of women among newly elected executive board members being relatively low. In 2017 the percentage of female members on executive boards leapt from 6% to 8% in the private sector and dropped back to 7% in 2018. In 2019 the proportion of women among the new members rose to 9% with 18% newly appointed female members. Last year, the share of women on executive boards in the private sector (10%) reached the double digits for the first time, thanks to a 21% share of women among newly appointed members. This year, this number was surpassed again with a share of 26% women among newly appointed members, resulting in a total share of women of 13% in executive management. The public sector achieves a proportion of women in top positions of 21%. At 11%, the fluctuation in the public sector is lower than in the private sector at 14%, but the proportion of women among the newly appointed top executives is slightly higher at 29% than in the private sector at 26%. The public sector, for example, has seen a leap from 20% to 21% female top executives.

The survey only examined the percentage of foreigners in the private sector, since senior public officials are almost exclusively Swiss citizens, and a survey of the percentage of foreigners has no relevance. In the private sector, the share of foreigners on executive boards has dropped from 44% to 43%, while 46% of newly appointed executive board members are foreigners. In other words, almost half of the newly appointed executive board members do not hold a Swiss passport.

Supervisory Boards and Federal/Governing Councils

Composition of the Supervisory Boards and Federal/Governing CouncilsPrivate SectorPublic Sector
Overall SampleNewOverall Sample
Number of companies/organisations9227
Total members841100%90100%160100%
Number of women20524%3134%4126%
Number of men63676%5966%11974%
Number of Swiss members53764%5460%
Number of foreigners30436%3640%
Number of new members9011%

Of the supervisory board members in the private sector, 24% are women (2020: 23%). Among the newly appointed supervisory board members, 34% are women (2020: 32%). One in 3 vacant seats on the supervisory boards is filled by a woman. Among those serving on the political boards of the federal government and the cantons, 26% (2020: 26%) of all federal and governing council members are women, while 43% (2020: 43%) of those serving as councillors in the federal government alone are women.

The share of foreigners on supervisory boards of the private sector is 36% (2020: 37%), while 40% of the newly elected supervisory board members do not hold a Swiss passport. This survey of foreigners was not conducted in the public sector because political officeholders are almost exclusively Swiss citizens.

4.2 Areas of Responsibility of Senior Federal and Cantonal Officials, and of Executive Board Members

Areas of Responsibility of Top Federal and Cantonal Officials

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
Existing92225147750
New10921493
Total103127161843

In addition to the overall sample, three different areas of responsibilities or function groups are identified at the top levels of the public sector. The 26 cantonal chancellors and the federal chancellor are examined separately, as are the general secretaries and department heads.

Areas of Responsibility of Executive Board Members
Executive board members are divided into business and service functions in the survey. The business function includes all turnover-related positions at the company and/or all functions in the company’s core business, such as sales, marketing responsibilities, research and development, and production. Service functions are all positions that play a supporting role at the company and have no direct impact on sales, such as human resources and communication.

Areas of Responsibility of EB MembersAreas of Responsibility of New EB Members
Business FunctionService FunctionBusiness FunctionService Function
Overall Sample53760%35440%7562%4638%
Men49363%28637%5966%3134%
Women4439%6861%1652%1548%

While 60% of executive board members have a business function, the figure for new members is 62%. Among women, 39% have a business function, while the figure is 52% for new female members. While the majority of the women (61%) manage a support unit, two-thirds (63%) of the male executive board members work in the company’s core business, and just a third in managing service units.

4.3 Experience of the Board Members

When examining the experience of the board members in the private sector, two essential questions arise: What professional experience did the executive and supervisory board members have prior to being appointed to a board? And how long have they been at the company? In the public administration, on the other hand, the question of the permeability of the boundary between the public and private sector arises.

Private Sector

Executive Boards

Expierence of the EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample873100%117100%
Worked at the company beforehand51159%6656%
Sat on another EB beforehand19122%3227%
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand536%11%
No prior experience at the company or on another EB11814%1614%

A total of 65% of executive board members worked at the company prior to joining the board and were recruited internally. This indicates the importance of managing internal talent. Among executive board members, 28% had sat on the board of another company prior to being appointed. By contrast, just 14% had no relevant experience at the same company or on another executive board. This is due in part to the recruitment from large corporate groups of managers who had not held posts on the top management board of the company, but instead on a lower board at the divisional level of corporate management, for example. Among new members, 14% had neither experience on another executive board nor were recruited internally. 57% of the newly appointed managers were already working at the company when they were appointed to the executive board. The number of new managers with experience on another executive board was 28%.

Average Experience of EB MembersOn the Current EBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the EB
Overall sample5 years
Worked at the company beforehand5 years18 years13 years
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand5 years11 years6 years
Sat on another EB beforehand5 years
No prior experience at the company or on another EB4 years

There were some particularly interesting findings in the analysis of the average experience of executive board members. An examination of the period during which an executive board member has been employed at a company reveals that managers promoted internally must work at the company longer (an average of 13 years) before they are appointed to the executive board than members with external experience at the same hierarchical level – even if only at an SME. The latter are appointed to the management board after an average of just 5 years.

Supervisory Boards

Background of the SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Worked at the company beforehand12915%89%
Previously CEO at the company1512%337.5%
Previously on the EB of the company1512%--
Previously EB member and CEO at the company43%--
Previously neither EB member nor CEO at the company9574%562.5%

A total of 841 supervisory board members were surveyed this year. Of these, 129 had already worked for the company before joining the board (15%). Of the latter, 12% were either CEOs or executive board members, and another 3% held both of these posts. Therefore, experience at the company is an important factor in being selected to serve on the supervisory board. However, an even more interesting statistic is that, before being appointed, 12% of all 841 supervisory board members sat on the executive board of another company included in the schillingreport. 71 people in the sample are members of several supervisory boards, holding a total of 158 seats. In addition, 13 executive board members also sit on the supervisory board of another company included in the report.

Average Experience of SB MembersOn the current SBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the SB
Overall Sample6 years
Worked at the company beforehand9 years22 years13 years

The average supervisory board member has held the post for 6 years. With an average of 9 years, supervisory board members who worked in operations at the company beforehand have a little more seniority. They have been with the company an average of 22 years and were appointed to the supervisory board after an average of 13 years. The new supervisory board members were appointed to the strategic management board after an average of 9 years.

Public Sector

In analysing the experience of the senior officials of the public administration, the issue of the permeability of the boundary between the public and private sector comes to the forefront. It is also interesting to learn what career experience these individuals had prior to taking their current position, and how long they have been working for the cantonal/federal government overall.

Length of Service

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
7 years8 years7 years7 years
Women5 years5 years5 years5 years
Men7 years9.5 years8 years7 years

The average length of service of the individuals surveyed is 7 years. The male cantonal chancellors have served the longest, an average of 9.5 years. The survey results show that women have served less time than men overall in those posts. The cantonal chancellors, both men and women, stand out here too. The length of service of male cantonal chancellors is on average 3.5 years longer than their female counterparts.

Experience

Overall SampleLength of Service in Current PositionLength of Service in the CantonYears in the Canton before Current Position
Previously worked in same canton (continuously)49257%7 years18 years11 years
Did not previously work in same canton34840%7 years

Before assuming their current post, 57% of the individuals surveyed worked continuously in the same canton or in the federal administration. Therefore, more than half of these senior officials were recruited internally. On average, these persons have been working in the federal/cantonal administration for 18 years, achieved their current post in 11 years, and have been working in it for an average of 7 years. Those who had not previously worked in the same canton or in the federal administration have also been working an average of 7 years in their current post. Another 3% were appointed to their position from outside, but had already worked in the same canton and or in the federal administration before.

Permeability

Overall SampleFederal Chancellor/
Cantonal Chancellors
General SecretariesDepartment Heads
Previously worked in the same canton51457%1560%8764%41256%
Previously worked in private sector23132%419%3534%19332%
Previously worked in the public sector38153%1467%4948%31753%
Previously worked in the private and public sector11115%314%1818%8915%

Overall, 57% of the senior officials surveyed already worked for their current cantonal/federal employer prior to taking their current post: 95% of them have continuously worked there, while 5% left the canton/federal administration and returned later. A total of 47% of these individuals once worked in the private sector before taking their current position. At 49%, this was slighter more in 2020. In 2019, this figure was 48%, while in 2018 it was 49%. The boundary between the private and public sector is slighter less with 32% than in the previous year (33%). A total of 68% had previously worked for another public administration. And 15% had previously worked in both the private as well as the public sector. This means that many public managers have accumulated extensive experience throughout their careers beyond the organisation they work for now, facilitating a broader view of the professional world.

Of the 109 people who were newly appointed to their posts in the survey period, 63% were recruited internally (2020: 57%). A total of 49% of the new people previously worked in another public administration capacity, while 26% had experience in the private sector, 13% in both public administration and the private sector, with 25% having begun their career with their current employer. In most cases, general secretaries are recruited from within the cantons/federal government. In this survey, 64% of the general secretaries were recruited internally for their posts. This figure is 60% in the case of cantonal chancellors, and 56% for department heads. Over half of the general secretaries (52%) have experience in the private sector, while 47% of department heads, and a third, or 33% (2020: 32%), of the chancellery supervisors do.

5 Gender Diversity of the Private and Public Sectors

This chapter focuses on the percentages of women in the examined samples of the private and public sectors as well as the gender diversity pipeline of the participating companies. The gender diversity pipeline sample, in which the 250 most important Swiss companies were surveyed, is different from that of the 100 largest Swiss employers surveyed since 2006. The figures for the gender diversity pipeline are collected every two years. Current figures are available for this year’s report.

5.1 Overview of the Percentage of Women

LevelGender Diversity PipelinePublic Sector
SB Presidency7%
Supervisory Boards/Government and Federal Council20%25%
CEO6%
Executive Boards/Senior Public Officials13%21%
Senior Management18%29%
Middle Management25%29%
Total workforce36%45%

For the 145 companies surveyed, the percentage of women on the supervisory board is 20%, 1 percentage point higher than the figure for the last survey in 2019. Supervisory board president positions amount to 7% (2019: 3%). While 36% of the total workforce is made up of women, 25% work in middle management and 18% in top management. A clear and continuous decline in the proportion of women can be observed from one hierarchical level to the next. At the executive board level, this percentage has again fallen sharply; in the companies surveyed, women account for 13%. At each of these levels, the proportion of women has increased between 1 and 3 percentage points each since 2019. 6% of CEOs are women. In the public sector sample, 16 cantons and the Swiss Federation evaluated their percentages of women at the levels below senior public officials, and the picture is similar to that of the 145 private sector companies, although with higher values. All 26 cantons and the federal administration were evaluated for the senior public officials. In the included cantons, almost half of the workforce consists of women with 45% (2019: 47%), 29% at middle management level (2019: 28%) and 29% at senior management level (2019: 22%).

Gender Diversity Pipeline Private Sector

Gender Diversity Pipeline Public Sector

The figures above can be easily displayed as a pipeline by means of these graphs, which clearly shows that the percentages of women are significantly higher in the lower levels than at management level. The pyramid shape is characteristic of many participating companies and their industry values, with large differences in the proportion of women within the industries.

5.2 Percentages of Women at the Companies per Hierarchical Level

An analysis of the percentages of women by hierarchical level is particularly interesting with regard to the frequency distribution of companies and is intended to show which percentages of women are most strongly represented. The distribution shows how different the starting positions of the participating companies currently are with regard to gender diversity: The precursors are rapidly approaching a balanced representation of the sexes in management bodies. There is a large group of companies that have considerable potential to catch up at all levels of the hierarchy.

Executive Boards

63 companies or 45% of the total sample have no women in executive board positions and thus remains unchanged to 2019. A cluster of 37 companies counts between 11 and 20% women in executive board positions. At first glance, the small number of companies (6) with a share of women between 1 and 10% seems to be out of line with the trend. However, it is due to the fact that many executive boards have fewer than 10 members, which makes a single-digit percentage share impossible. Only 14 companies (10%) have more than 30% women in executive board positions.

Senior Management

7% (9) of the companies surveyed have no women in senior management, which corresponds to a decrease of 3 percentage points compared to 2019. 55% (72) of companies have between 1 and 20% female executives in senior management. 39% of companies (51) have over 20% women in senior management. Only 18 companies at this hierarchical level achieve a percentage of more than 30% women.

Middle Management

Only 3 companies do not employ women in middle management (2%). The highest concentration of companies is clearly in the range between 11 and 20% of women (43). 39 companies employ more than 30% of women in middle executive board positions. In 8 of these companies, women make up more than half of managers at this hierarchical level. A similar picture to 2019 can be seen with a slightly positive shift to the right.

General Workforce

Companies most often employ 21 to 30% women in their general workforce. These 30 companies represent 23% of the companies surveyed. 25 companies (19%) employ less than 20% women, of whom a disproportionately large number are in the manufacturing industry. In 53 (40%) of the participating companies 31 to 50% of women are employed. In 25 (19%) women make up the majority of the general workforce.
The overall pattern is therefore also clear when comparing the hierarchy levels: The higher the hierarchy level, the lower the probability that more than 30% of women are represented. If 78 companies meet this criterion at the general workforce level, there are 39 companies in middle management, 18 in senior management and 14 in the executive board.

Supervisory Board

31 companies (23%, 2019: 20%) have no women on the supervisory board – this is significantly less than on the executive boards, but more than in senior management. 29 companies (21%) already employ more than 30% female supervisory board members, an increase of 3 percentage points compared to 2019. The majority of companies (76 and 55% respectively) have 11 to 30% women on the supervisory board.

5.3 A Breakdown of Gender Diversity at the Companies by Sector

The various sectors of the economy have very different basic requirements in terms of gender diversity. These requirements must be considered when assessing the potential of specific measures to strengthen gender diversity. The percentages of women in basic and middle management positions vary widely from industry to industry and thus affect the ability of a single company to build and lead a broad pipeline of female talent.

An Overview of the Percentage of Women per Sector

In this report, the 145 participating companies were assigned to 11 industry clusters, which allow a comparison with similar companies on the one hand, and between industries on the other.

Ten of the 11 industry clusters examined have sufficient companies to determine a representative industry profile – the minimum number of companies per industry was set at 3. The sample is dominated by banks and the manufacturing industry, with 33 participating companies each. Only 1 company each from the wholesale trade/commodities industry participated in the report, which is why these results are not published.

Percentage of Women by Hierarchical Level in Industry Comparison

Percentage of womenBankingInsuranceMedia/ICTBusiness ServicesTransport/Logistics/
Tourism
Real EstateManufacturing
Industry
EnergyLife SciencesRetail/
Consumer Goods
Number of companies33108410103341912
SB Presidency15%10%--10%---11%8%
Supervisory Board28%24%19%50%23%12%13%19%20%18%
CEO6%10%--10%--25%5%8%
Executive Board13%17%11%22%10%7%6%10%17%19%
Senior Management16%19%16%25%20%20%17%13%25%16%
Middle Management24%26%26%34%19%30%18%12%33%25%
General Workforce43%46%29%56%30%37%21%21%41%46%

The business services sector cluster accounts for the largest share of women in the general workforce (56%), while the lowest figures can be found in the manufacturing industry and the energy sector (each 21%). The other industries are relatively close to the mean of the total sample (36%). At the middle management level, the highest share of female executives within companies can be found in the business services (34%), life sciences (33%) and real estate (30%) sectors. The other sectors have shares between 12% (energy) and 26% (insurance and media/ICT).
In senior management, the life sciences and business services sectors cluster have the highest share of women at 25%, followed by the transport/logistics/tourism and real estate sectors (each 20%). At this hierarchical level, the energy sector has the fewest female executives with 13%. The situation regarding executive boards is somewhat similar: The business services (22%), retail/consumer goods (19%), life sciences and insurance (each 17%) sectors have the highest share of female executive board members. The manufacturing industry (6%) and real estate sector (7%) have the lowest shares of female executive board members.

Percentage of Women in Individual Industries

The sectors have very divergent basic requirements with regard to the percentage of women, which can be taken into account when setting diversity targets and defining relevant comparative values. For this reason, a detailed look at the starting position and the current pipeline of female talent currently available in the individual industries is of interest.

Banking

The banking industry sample analysed comprises 33 institutions, including the two major banks, several private, regional and universal banks and 16 cantonal banks. Compared to the total sample, the proportion of women in the general workforce is higher at 43%, and slightly higher than two years ago (42%). In contrast, the proportion of women in middle management is below average at 24% (2019: 21%) and in senior management at 16% (2019: 15%). 13% of the executive board members in the participating banks are female and 6% are CEOs.

Insurance

The 10 insurance institutions participating in the report have an average of 46% women on their general workforce. Therefore, there is great potential to further enhance gender diversity at the top through internal talent development. The proportion of women in both middle management and senior management has increased. 26% (2019: 24%) of women work in middle management and 19% (2019: 16%) in senior management – similar values as in the total sample. One insurance company (10%) is managed by a female CEO, 10% (2019: 11%) of the members of the executive board are female.

Media/ICT

The media, IT and telco companies are jointly identified as a industry cluster because the requirements profiles and areas of activity of these companies are converging. This industry cluster with 9 companies has a high percentage of women in middle management (26%). In senior management 16% women are employed; an increase of 2 percentage points for the middle management compared to 2019, but a decrease of 5 percentage points for senior management. The number of women in executive board positions stayed constant at 11%. There are no female CEOs in the participating companies. The values for middle management and in the executive board are comparable with the overall sample and the value in senior management is slightly below average. Since the proportion of female employees is only 289 overall, this industry is already relatively successful in developing its internal talent.

Business Services

Business services comprise various companies from the professional services sector. In the last survey, this industry was represented with only one company, which is why a comparison to 2019 cannot be made. The share of women in the general workforce is with 56% significantly higher than the total sample (36%). This broad pipeline is manifested at the management levels: 34% women in middle management, 25% in senior management and 22% in the executive boards. All values lie significantly above those of the total sample.

Transport/Logistics/Tourism

The percentage of women in the general workforce of the 10 participating companies from the transport, logistics and tourism sectors was below average for the sector (30%), and this was reflected at a management level. On executive boards the percentage of women was 10% (2019: 8%), senior management 20% (2019: 15%) and middle management 19% (2019: 22%).

Real Estate

The proportion of women in the general workforce of the real estate industry was slightly above average, at 37%. 30% of managers in middle management were women, and 20% in senior management. These are high percentages compared to the entire sample. There were no women on executive boards in the real estate sector in 2019; this year the share increased to 7%. There are currently still no female CEOs. For women, the real estate career ladder is harder to climb to the top than in other sectors.

Manufacturing Industry

This cluster includes the machinery, electronics and metal industries, the precision industry and industrial construction suppliers. On the one hand, these 33 companies have a very low proportion of women in the general workforce, some 21%. In middle management (18%) and senior management (17%), however, the industry cluster approaches the average percentage of the overall sample. In the manufacturing industry, 6% of executive board members are women, while none of the companies has a woman as CEO.
This is characteristic of the pipeline for women at industrial companies: a smaller percentage in the general workforce that nonetheless tapers off less sharply toward the top than in other sectors. Therefore, by comparison with other sectors, Swiss industrial enterprises have been relatively successful in tapping the potential of in-house talent. However, a further increase in gender diversity will require an increase in the percentage of women in the general workforce and in middle management.

Energy

The 4 companies in the energy sector have the lowest proportion of women (21%) in the general workforce, together with the manufacturing industry. The pipeline tapers over at management level, but is then untypically steady. In middle management (12%) and in senior management (13%), the share of women lies clearly below the average of the entire sample. On the executive board, however, the proportion of women, at 10%, is at the average. Of the 4 companies, 1 of them had female CEOs at the end of 2020, 25%.

Life Sciences

The life sciences sector, which includes chemical, pharmaceutical, medical technology and biotechnology companies, has a general workforce that is 41% female, which is above average, and 2 percentage points lower than in the last survey. However, the participating companies in this sector have been very successful in tapping the potential of their general workforce and preparing women for middle management: At 33% (2019: 29%), the number of women in middle management of the life sciences sector is high. In senior management, the share of women is also above average at 25% (2019: 22%). On the executive boards, 17% (2019: 13%) of the members are women, while there is 1 female CEO in the life sciences sector. Very good conditions have been established in the sector to consistently promote talented women in middle management and bring them into senior management and onto the executive boards.

Retail/Consumer Goods

This industry cluster includes retail trade, food and other consumer goods enterprises. This cluster stands out with a high share of women in the general workforce of 46%, clearly over the average of the entire sample. The proportions of women in senior management (16%) and in middle management (25%) are around the average while those on executive boards (19%) are above the average of participating companies in all the sectors. This share has doubled since 2019. The pipeline for female talent is highly typical: It tapers off significantly toward the top of the hierarchy. This sector is less successful than others in tapping the in-house talent of the very high percentage of women in its general workforce.

6 Nationalities in the Private Sector

The internationalisation of companies also brings changes to their management boards. It is not just the best managers in Switzerland who are in demand today but the best international managers. A clear sign of this is that English is increasingly becoming the corporate language. This trend merits special consideration. A survey of nationalities in the public sector was not conducted, since the public sector employs almost exclusively Swiss citizens, and a survey of the percentage of foreigners is of no relevance.

6.1 Executive Boards

Overview of Foreign EB Members

OverviewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies119
Total EB members891100%121100%
Number of foreigners38643%4840%
Number of foreigners386100%48100%
Number of women5815%1327%
Number of men32885%3573%
Number of CEOs120100%16100%
Number of foreigners4134%425%
Number of SMI EB members199100%18100%
Number of foreigners13467%1478%

The proportion of foreigners on executive boards rose continuously by 9 percentage points from 2006 to 2011, from 36% to 45%. Since then, it appears to have settled at this level and currently stands at 43%. While foreigners accounted for 60% of the newly appointed members in 2016 and 64% in 2017, the figure was only 38% in 2018 and 54% again in 2019. Last year, the figure was 46% and currently, the proportion of foreigners among the new members is 40%Last year, the share of foreigners among new members was 46%; currently, this number is 40%. The number of new foreigners on executive boards is slightly lower than the number who have left, which explains the lower percentage of foreigners in the overall sample.

After stagnating at 63% between 2016 and 2018, the proportion of foreigners on the management boards of SMI companies rose to 65% in 2019 and to 67% in 2020. Currently the figure stands at 67% again. This share is therefore well above the overall sample, which is 34%, representing a difference of 24 percentage points.

The number of foreigners among the CEOs decreased by 2 percentage points and is now 34% (2020: 36%). Among the foreigners in the overall sample, the percentage of women, at 15%, is more than the share in the overall average (13%). Among the new foreigners, 27% are women, which is also slightly higher as in the overall sample (26%). In 2020, this figure was 29% and therefore slightly higher.

There are no Swiss members on 13 of the executive boards examined in the report (11%), while all of the executive board members at 27 of the 119 companies surveyed (23%) are Swiss. Last year, this figure was one percentage point lower, or 22%. Both of these figures are low, which means that the companies have mixed management boards in terms of nationality.

Nationality of Foreign EB Members

Most of the foreign executive board members continue to be from Germany (114 of 386, or 30%). The 94 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, AUS, CAN, IRL) represent a total of 24% (2020: 26%). Germans and Anglo-Saxons also represent the majority of the 48 new executive board members. The 8 German members account for 17%, representing a decrease from last year (2020: 38%). In contrast, the 12 Anglo-Saxons now represent 25% (2020: 22%).

6.2 Supervisory Boards

Overview of Foreign SB Members

OverviewOverall SampleNew
Number of companies92
Total SB members841100%90100%
Number of foreigners30436%3640%
Number of foreigners304100%36100%
Number of women8628%1644%
Number of men21872%2056%
Number of SB presidents92100%12100%
Number of foreigners1921%18%
Number of SMI SB presidents217100%20100%
Number of foreigners13261%1260%

At 36%, the proportion of foreigners on the supervisory boards is 1 percentage point lower than the previous year and 7 points lower than on the executive boards (43%). At 21%, the number of foreign supervisory board presidents is 2 percentage points lower than the previous year. The number of foreign CEOs decreased from 36% to 34%. The proportion of women among the foreigners is 28%, somewhat higher than the 24% in the overall sample, and it has continuously increased since the survey began. Among new foreign members, women represent 44%, significantly higher than the 34% of the overall sample. The 61% of foreign supervisory board members at SMI companies is 25 points higher than that of all foreign supervisory board members (36%).

At 3 of the companies surveyed (3%), there are no Swiss supervisory board members, while all of the supervisory board members at 20 of the 92 companies surveyed (22%) are Swiss.

Nationality of Foreign SB Members

The 74 Germans are also the largest group among the 304 foreign supervisory board members, representing 24%. The U.S. is the second largest group with 18% (55 people), followed by Great Britain with 9% (26), and France with 5% (16). There are a total of 94 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, CAN, AUS, IRL) representing 31%. Among those from German-speaking countries, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein make up a total of 30% of foreign supervisory board members (90 people), which is 1 percentage point fewer than the Anglo Saxons. While there are more than twice as many Germans on executive boards as U.S. citizens, the situation is different on supervisory boards: Although there are also more Germans on supervisory boards, they represent only about 35% more than the Americans.

This year there are 36 new foreign supervisory board members, reflecting an interesting trend with respect to previous years. In 2018, the Germans represented the largest group by far with 31%, followed by the U.S. with 18% and the British with 8%. Overall, Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, CAN, IRL) represented 31% (12) of the new supervisory board members, while Germans and Austrians represented a total of 33% (13 members). In 2019, members from the U.S. represented 18% (9) of the new supervisory board members, followed by the Germans, who represented 14% (7), and ahead of the British, who represented 10% (5). Altogether, the Anglo-Saxon countries represented 36% of the new supervisory board members. In 2020, Germans were again second with 3 new supervisory board members (10%) behind the U.S. with 12 (39%), but in front of the Anglo-Saxons (British and Canadian), the Netherlands and Spain with 2 seats (6%) each. This year, Germans represent the largest group with 28% (10) ahead of the U.S. Americans, French and Singaporean, with each 8% (3). The Anglo-Saxon countries (U.S., GB, CAN, IRL) represent a great deal fewer foreign supervisory board members with 19% (7) than Germans and Austrians together, with 33%.

6.3 Women

Overview

Executive BoardsSupervisory Boards
Overall SampleNewOverall SampleNew
Total female members112100%31100%205100%31100%
Number of Swiss women5448%1858%11958%1548%
Number of foreign women5852%1342%8642%1652%
Total female CEOs/SB presidents5100%2100%6100%1100%
Number of Swiss women480%150%583%--
Number of foreign women120%150%117%1100%
Total female SMI members28100%5100%58100%7100%
Number of Swiss women518%120%2034%229%
Number of foreign women2382%480%3866%571%
Total female SMI CEOs/SB presidents----1100%--
Number of Swiss women----1100%--
Number of foreign women--------

Among the female executive board members, there are again less Swiss nationals (48%) than last year (2020: 49%). At 58%, there are also less Swiss women on supervisory boards than last year (2020: 60%), although the figure has levelled off at 60% over the last 5 years. The proportion of foreign women both on executive and supervisory boards has increased continuously over the entire survey period, which suggests that the self-image of women pursuing a career is higher abroad than in Switzerland. Socially, politically and corporately Switzerland has a lot of catching up to do in this area.

Nationality of Foreign Women on Executive Boards

The U.S. Americans represent the largest group of foreign women: 22% (13) of all foreign women on executive boards hold an U.S. passport (2020: 20%). German women are the second largest group (12) at 21% (2020: 26%), followed by women from France (10) with 17% (2020: 22%) and from Italy with 9% (5, 2020: 4%), Belgians, Swedes and Australians with each 4% (2 members). Among the new members, there are 3 French, American and Italien women each (23%). Among the 5 new female SMI executive board members 20% hold a Swiss passport (2020: 21%), the 4 foreign women are from France, Great Britain, Israel and Italy (each 20%).

Nationality of Foreign Women on Supervisory Boards

Among supervisory board members, 58% are Swiss women. This figure was 60% last year, and 58% the year before. Among the 86 foreign women on supervisory boards, 38% (33) are Anglo-Saxon, and more than half of them (23% or 20 people) hold a U.S. passport. Among all women on the supervisory boards, 19% (16) are German and 7% (6) are French, while Swedish, Chinese and Austrian women each represent 3% with 3 female supervisory board members each. Another 4 countries are each represented by 2 female supervisory board members, or 2% in each case and 7 countries 1 woman each (1%). If SMI companies are excluded from the analysis, the proportion of Swiss women (99) among the 147 supervisory board members is 67%. This is explained by the fact that 44% (38) of all 86 of the foreign female supervisory board members work at SMI companies. Therefore, SMI-listed companies are the most internationalised with respect to female supervisory board members.

7 A Look at Interesting Subgroups

This separate analysis of interesting subgroups and industries is based on extensive findings in the private sector and on the gender diversity pipeline, and on a comparison with the overall sample. The analysis is intended as a starting point for a better understanding of specific developments and trends in Switzerland.

7.1 CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs and supervisory board presidents warrant special attention. Their statistics were examined separately from the overall survey data because they reveal how the path to the top of a company might look.

Overview of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs

Overview of CEOsOverall SampleNew
Number of companies119
Total CEOs120100%16100%
Number of women54%212.5%
Number of men11596%1487.5%
Number of Swiss members7966%1275%
Number of foreigners4134%425%
Number of new members1613%
Number of SMI CEOs21100%4100%
Number of women----
Number of men21100%4100%
Number of Swiss members1152%250%
Number of foreigners1048%250%
Number of new members419%

Among the 120 CEOs, men clearly dominate. There are only 5 women. They are Suzanne Thoma (BKW Energie AG), Philomena Colatrella (CSS Insurance), Magdalena Martullo-Blocher (EMS-Chemie Holding AG), Aglaë Strachwitz (McDonald’s Schweiz) and Désirée Baer (SBB Cargo).

The number of CEOs who are foreigners equals 34%, which is considerably lower than in the overall sample (43%) and 3 percentage points lower than the previous year. The foreign CEOs reached their peak in 2011 at 44%, and has since declined. The SMI CEOs are clearly more international: 48% of them hold a foreign passport (2020: 45%). This year, a total of 16 CEOs, or 13%, were new to the post.

Supervisory Board Presidents

Overview of SB PresidentsOverall SampleNew
Number of companies92
Total SB presidents92100%12100%
Number of women67%18%
Number of men8693%1192%
Number of Swiss members7379%1192%
Number of foreigners1921%18%
Number of new members1213%
Number of SMI SB Presidents20100%1100%
Number of women15%--
Number of men1995%1100%
Number of Swiss members1365%1100%
Number of foreigners735%--
Number of new members15%

There are 6 female supervisory board presidents. They are Daniela Bosshardt-Hengartner (Galenica Ltd.), Doris Russi Schurter (Helvetia Group), Wendy Becker (Logitech International SA), Ursula Nold (Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund), Monika Ribar (Swiss Federal Railways SBB), and Nayla Hayek (The Swatch Group Ltd.). The share of women among the supervisory board presidents increased from 6% to 7% but remains low.

At 21%, there are also relatively few foreign supervisory board presidents. Among the new supervisory board presidents, 9% are foreigners (2020: 20%). 13% (12) of supervisory board presidents were new to their companies.

Nationality of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

Nationality of Foreign CEOs

Among the 120 CEOs, 79 (66%) hold a Swiss passport. The 19 Germans (16%) represent the largest group of foreign CEOs, as they do on the executive boards. The 6 American CEOs are the second largest group (5%). The 4 French CEOs (3%) come in third. Then come Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain, each with 2 representatives (2% each). Among the 16 newly appointed CEOs, 12 (75%) are Swiss, while this figure was 59% in the previous year. In addition, one of the new CEOs appointed this year is from Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria.

Nationality of Foreign SB Presidents

The percentage of Swiss supervisory board presidents is higher than that of Swiss CEOs. While 79 (66%) of the 120 CEOs are Swiss, 73 (79%) of the 92 supervisory presidents hold a Swiss passport. The 7 Germans represent the largest group, representing 37% of all foreign supervisory board presidents. They are followed by Belgians and U.S. Americans with each 2 (11%) supervisory board presidents. The foreign supervisory board presidents represent 11 different countries, i.e. most countries are represented just once. A similar pattern can be observed in past years.

Experience of CEOs and Supervisory Board Presidents

CEOs

Experience of the CEOsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample120100%16100%
CEO recruited internally8067%744%
CEO recruited from outside4033%956%

Of the CEOs, 67% (2020: 96%) worked at the company before being appointed. At 44% (2020: 41%), this figure is clearly lower for the new CEOs.

Average experience of the CEOsAs CEOOn the Current EBAt the company
Overall sample5 years
Internally recruited CEOs5 years12 years22 years
Externally recruited CEOs4 years

On average, the CEOs have held the position for 5 years. Internally recruited CEOs have been at the company an average of 22 years, were appointed to the executive board after an average of 10 years, and as CEO after 7 years.

SB Presidents

Experience of the SB PresidentsOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample92100%12100%
Internally recruited SB president6975%758%
Externally recruited SB president2325%542%
Member of the same SB beforehand5762%758%
Previously CEO of the company2426%18%
Previously on the Eb of the company1112%--

Prior to their appointment, 75% (2020: 76%) of supervisory board presidents worked in operations for the same company or sat on its supervisory board. Just 25% (2020: 24%) of the presidents were appointed from outside the company. A total of 62% (2020: 68%) were on the supervisory board, 26% of them were CEOs (2020: 23%) and/or 12% (2020: 9%) were members of the executive board, prior to their appointment as supervisory board president. Among the newly appointed presidents, 58% (2020: 60%) were already on the supervisory board, and 8% (2020: 20%) were CEO beforehand.

Average Experience of the SB PresidentsAs SB PresidentOn the Current SBAt the Company
Overall Sample6 years
Previously member of this SB7 years13 years27 years
Externally recruited SB president5 years

On average, SB presidents have been in the post for 6 years, while the average is 7 years for internally recruited presidents. Those presidents who were already supervisory board members have held seats on the current board an average of 13 years, and those who worked in operations beforehand have been at the company an average of 27 years. The externally recruited supervisory board presidents have held the office 5 years on average.

7.2 SMI Companies

The blue-chip SMI is Switzerland’s most important stock-market index and includes the 20 largest SPI (Swiss Performance Index) stocks. The SMI accounts for around 85% of the total capitalisation of the Swiss stock market. SMI companies are the leaders in internationalisation, but also in other areas. The SMI companies are analysed as a separate subgroup to identify important trends in relation to the future evolution of Swiss management boards.

Composition of SMI Executive Boards

Composition of the SMI EBOverall SampleNew
Number of companies20
Total EB members199100%18100%
Number of women2814%528%
Number of men17186%1372%
Number of Swiss members6533%422%
Number of foreigners13467%1478%
Number of new members189%
Number of SMI CEOs21100%4100%
Number of Swiss members1152%250%
Number of foreigners1048%250%
Number of new members419%

At SMI companies, the share of women on executive boards increased by 5 percentage points over 8 years, from 3% in 2006 to 8% for the first time in 2013. After falling to 6% in 2014 and stagnating for two years, it has been rising again since 2017 and reached 10% in 2019. Last year, SMI companies increased the share of women on executive boards to 12%. Currently, SMI companies fill 28% of vacant executive board positions with women, thus increasing the share to 14%, which is 1 percentage point above the overall sample (13%).

While the share of foreigners on the executive boards of SMI companies peaked at 68% in 2013, it fell to 65% in 2014, and remained at 63% from 2015 to 2018, rising again to 65% in 2019. Last year, SMI companies are recording a slightly higher percentage of 67% foreigners on executive boards, which stayed constant for this year. Therefore, the composition of executive boards at SMI companies tends to be much more international than the overall sample (43%). An interesting trend has developed regarding CEOs at SMI companies. Five years ago, the percentage of foreigners among SMI chief executives was 71%. Four years ago, it dropped to 55%, three years ago to 47%, two years ago to 45% remained constant last year. Currently, SMI companies also record 48% CEOs with foreign passports. In other words, more than half of the CEOs at SMI companies hold a Swiss passport.

Composition of SMI Supervisory Boards

Composition of the SMI SBOverall SampleNew
Number of companies20
Total SB members217100%20100%
Number of women5827%735%
Number of men15973%1365%
Number of Swiss members8539%840%
Number of foreigners13261%1260%
Number of new members209%
Number of SMI SB Members20100%1100%
Number of Swiss members1365%1100%
Number of foreigners735%--
Number of new members15%

Of the samples examined, SMI supervisory boards have the highest share of women with 27%. This is 1 percentage point higher than the previous year. This is explained by the number of women among new SMI supervisory board members, which is 35%. The percentage of foreigners on the SMI supervisory boards has been constant at 61%. The share of newly appointed SMI supervisory board members who are foreigners is now 60%, while last year it was 60%, 86% in 2019 and 63% in 2018. Of the 20 SMI SB presidents, 13 hold a Swiss passport, or 65%.

Nationality of SMI Management Boards

Executive Boards

With 49 members, the Anglo-Saxon countries (U.S., GB, AUS and CAN) make up 37%, or more than a third of the 134 foreigners on SMI executive boards. With 21 members (16%), Germany is in second place after the U.S., which represents 23% (31 members). France is third with 14% (19 members). Great Britain comes in fourth with 10% (13 members). This picture is different among the new SMI executive board members: 21% of the new foreign SMI executive board members are from the Netherlands (3 members). The new foreign members also include 2 from Sweden, France and Great Britain (each 14%). Last year, the Anglo-Saxons contributed to 31% of the new executive board members. In 2018, there was just 1 Anglo-Saxon among new SMI executive board members (1 from the U.S., or 5%), in 2019 there were 13 (8 U.S. Americans, 29%; 5 Brits, 18%). A comparison of the overall sample with that of the SMI shows that German managers play a minor role in SMI companies, while they clearly dominate among foreigners in the overall sample.

Supervisory Boards

The picture is somewhat similar on SMI supervisory boards. At 39%, the 52 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB, CAN and AUS) also represent the dominant share of the 132 foreigners, the largest group among them being the 34 U.S. citizens, representing 26%. The 21 German members are the second largest group with 16%, and the 11 British members are the third largest with 8%, closely followed by the 9 French members, who represent 7%: Among the 12 newly appointed foreign SMI supervisory board member, the 3 Anglo-Saxons (U.S., GB and CAN) together with the Germans dominate with 25% each, followed by the French with 17% (2 members). Another 4 countries are each represented by 1 (8%) new member. While there were significantly more Americans than Germans on the SMI supervisory boards, there are more Germans (74) than Americans (55) on the supervisory boards in the overall sample.

Areas of Responsibilities of SMI Executive Board Members

Executive board members are divided into business and service functions in the survey. The business function includes all sales-related positions at the company and/or all functions in the company’s core business, such as sales, marketing responsibilities, research and development, and production. The service function includes all positions that play a supporting role at the company and have no direct impact on sales, such as human resources and communication.

Areas of Responsibility of SMI EB MembersAreas of Responsibility of New SMI EB Members
Business FunctionService FunctionBusiness FunctionService Function
Overall Sample12161%7839%1056%844%
Men11265%5935%862%538%
Women932%1968%240%360%

While 61% of SMI executive board members have a business function, the figure for new members is 56%. The number of all SMI executive board members is above the overall sample (60%); the number of newly appointed members is below the overall sample (62%). Among female SMI executive board members, 32% have a business function, while 40% of the new female members do. Similar to the overall sample, less than half of the woman have a business function, while two-thirds of the men do.

Experience of SMI Board Members

Executive Boards

Experience of the SMI EB MembersOverall SampleNew
Size of the sample199100%18100%
Worked at the company beforehand14070%844%
Sat on another EB beforehand3216%739%
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand116%--
No prior experience at the company or on another EB168%317%

A total of 70% of the SMI executive board members worked at the company prior to joining the board. Among executive board members, 16% had sat on another executive board prior to being appointed, while 8% had no relevant experience at the same company or another executive board. Among the new SMI executive board members, 17% (2020: 5%) had no relevant experience at the same company or on another executive board.

Average Experience of SMI EB MembersOn the Current EBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the EB
Overall sample5 years
Worked at the company beforehand6 years20 years14 years
Worked at the company and sat on another EB beforehand3 years9 years6 years
Sat on another EB beforehand3 years
No prior experience at the company or on another EB3 years

An analysis of the length of service of executive board members reveals that internally promoted SMI managers have to work longer at the company, an average of 14 years, before being appointed to the board than those in the overall sample, who are appointed after just 13 years. SMI executive board members have 20 years of experience at the company on average, compared to 18 years in the overall sample. SMI executive management board members with external executive management experience – even if only at an SME – join the management board after 3 years on average, two years shorter than in the overall sample.

Supervisory Boards

Average Experience of SMI SB MembersOn the Current SBAt the CompanyAt the Company before joining the SB
Overall sample6 years
Worked at the company beforehand10 years24 years14 years

Internally recruited SMI supervisory board members have worked an average of 24 years at the company and were appointed to the supervisory board after 10 years. The average SMI supervisory board member has held the post for 6 years, which is the same as in the overall sample.

Experience of the SMI SB MembersOverall SampleNew
Worked at the company beforehand2813%311%
CEO at the company beforehand621%267%
EB member beforehand932%133%
EB member and CEO beforehand311%--
Neither EB member nor CEO beforehand1036%--

A total of 217 SMI supervisory board members were surveyed this year. 13% of these members had already been working for the company before joining the board. Of these, 21% were previously CEO, 32% were on the executive board, and 11% had been both executive board members and CEOs. Of all of the 217 supervisory board members, 12% sat on the executive board of another company included in the schillingreport before their current appointment. In addition, 9 members simultaneously sit on 2 SMI supervisory boards and hold a total of 18 seats, 6 SMI executive board members each hold 1 supervisory board seat at another SMI company.

Gender Diversity Pipeline of the SMI Companies

Thirteen out of the 20 SMI companies took part in the survey, which represents an above-average participation rate of 65%. SMI companies have an average share of women in their workforce of 35%, which is 1 percentage point lower than in the overall sample and a reduction of 2 percentage points compared to 2019. The proportion of women is 26% (2019: 27%) in middle management, and 26% in senior management (2019: 24%). The percentages at these hierarchical levels is higher than those in the overall sample (25% and 18%, respectively). Women at SMI companies represent 14% (2019: 11%) of the executive board members, slightly above the share in the overall sample. All SMI companies are led by a man, which means that the share of women at the CEO level is 0%.

7.3 Enterprises Affiliated with the Swiss Confederation

The four major companies affiliated with the Swiss Confederation – Swiss Post, the defence manufacturer Ruag, the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and the telecommunications provider Swisscom – are among the largest employers in Switzerland. The results here are of special interest, because the federal administration wishes to take a leading role on matters of gender diversity. A survey of these companies also allows us to consider the impact on gender diversity of the politically established framework conditions in comparison to the overall sample.

4 out of 5 of the aforementioned companies participated in and furnished statistics for the survey. None of the companies is led by a woman, which means the percentage of women at the CEO level is 0. On the executive boards of the four companies, 10% of the members are women, which is less than on the executive boards of all of the companies surveyed, and represents a 2 percentage points decrease compared to 2019. Of the senior managers, 19% are women, which is slightly more than in the overall sample (18%). At the middle management level, the share of women is 14%, which is the biggest difference compared to the overall sample. Of the general workforce of the 4 companies, 25% are women. This relatively low percentage is explained by the types of industries in which these government-affiliated companies are involved. These sectors have a low percentage of female employees. There has been a slighty negative change in the percentage of women since 2019 at the level of senior management, middle management, and in the general workforce.
Companies affiliated with the Swiss Confederation are therefore atypical with respect to the expansion of the pipeline for women. The comparatively high proportion of women in senior management and executive management is impressive when compared to the low percentage of women in the general workforce and middle management. So, as far as the share of women at the top goes, these federally-affiliated companies are fulfilling the pioneering role they have assumed.

7.4 Publicly Owned Companies

The cantons are also paying more and more attention to gender diversity, both in their own ranks as well as in associated companies. Therefore, we conduct a separate assessment of the percentage of women at these publicly owned companies. This sample consists of the federally-affiliated companies, the majority of the major utility companies and the larger cantonal banks, and other publicly controlled companies in the transport and financial sector. The sample covers a total of 29 companies.

At the publicly owned companies, 7% of CEOs are women, which is above average (2019: 11%). 12% of executive board members are women, slightly less than in the overall sample. This reflects an increase of 2 percentage points over 2019. Among the senior managers at the publically owned companies, 16% are women (2019: 13%), which is fewer than in the survey’s overall sample (18%). In middle management, the proportion of women at the publicly owned companies has risen three points to 21%. This is also less than in the overall sample, in which it is 25%. At all of the 29 companies in this sample, 38% of the employees are women (2019: 38%), slightly more than as in the comparison group of all participating companies with 36%.

7.5 Cantonal Banks in Comparison to other Banks

Cantonal banks are examined separately within the financial industry. A comparison with other banks allows us to determine the progress that cantonal banks are making on issues of gender diversity within the financial industry. The sample in this case consists of a total of 16 cantonal banks, the benchmark in terms of size being the 17 other participating financial institutions.

The general workforce of the cantonal banks surveyed consists of 46% women (2019: 47%). At the other banks, as in the overall sample, 40% of the employees are women (2019: 38%). At the cantonal banks, the proportion of women increased to 25% (2019: 21%) in middle management, and 16% (2019: 13%) in senior management At the other financial institutions, the proportion is 23% (2019: 21%) in middle management and 16% (2019: 17%) in senior management, which is similar to the cantonal banks. The executive boards at the cantonal banks are 10% female, which is below the amount in the overall sample (13%) and at the other banks (16%). Women represent 12% of all CEOs at the other banks (2019: 7%), none of the CEOs (2019: 8 %) at the cantonal banks surveyed are women.

Interviews

Jean-Christophe Deslarzes

Anne Emery-Torracinta

Franz Julen

Romeo Lacher

Philip Mosimann

Yves Serra

Overview of the Companies Included in the Report

CompaniesPrivate SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline (sr2021)CompaniesPrivate SectorGender-Diversity-Pipeline (sr2021)
Aargauische KantonalbankLeonteq AG
ABB Ltd.Liebherr-International AG
ABB Schweiz AGLiechtensteinische Landesbank
Addex Therapeutics LifeWatch AG
Adecco Management & Consulting SALogitech International SA
Adval Tech Holding AGLonza Group AG
AEVIS VICTORIA SALuzerner Kantonalbank AG
Airesis SAMagazine zum Globus AG
Alcon SwitzerlandManor AG
Allianz Suisse Gruppe McDonald's Suisse Holding SA
Allreal Holding AGMCH Group AG
Alpiq Holding AGMedartis AG
ALSO Holding AG
Meier Tobler AG
Alufleckpack AGMetall Zug Gruppe
AMAG Automobil- und Motoren AGMettler-Toledo Holding AG
APG SGA SAMeyer Burger Technology AG
Appenzeller KantonalbankMicarna SA
Arbonia AG Migros-Genossenschafts-Bund
ARYZTA AGMikron Holding AG
Ascom (Holding) AGMobilezone AG
Autoneum Holding AG
Mobimo Holding AG
AXA WinterthurMolecular Partners AG
Axpo Holding AGMövenpick Holding AG
Bachem Holding AGMyriad Group AG
Bâloise-HoldingNestlé S.A.
Banca dello Stato del Cantone TicinoNidwaldner Kantonalbank
Bank Cler Novartis AG
Bank Linth LLB AGObwaldner Kantonalbank
Banque Cantonale de FribourgOC Oerlikon Corporation AG
Banque Cantonale de GenèveOctapharma AG
Banque Cantonale du Jura AGOrascom Development Holding AG
Banque Cantonale NeuchâteloiseOrell Füssli Holding AG
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise AGOrior AG
Banque Profil de Gestion SAPanalpina Welttransport (Holding) AG
Barry Callebaut AGPartners Group Holding AG
Basellandschaftliche KantonalbankPeach Property Group AG
Basilea Pharmaceutica AGPhoenix Mecano AG
Basler KantonalbankPlanzer Transport AG
Belimo Holding AGPlazza Immobilien
Bell Food Group AGPoenina Holding AG
Bellevue Group AGPolyphor AG
Bergbahnen Engelberg-Trübsee-Titlis AGPostFinance AG
Berner KantonalbankPricewaterhouseCoopers
BKW Energie AGPrivatklinikgruppe Hirslanden
BLS-GruppePSP Swiss Property AG
Bobst GroupRaiffeisen Schweiz
Bossard AGRehau GmbH
Bucher Industries AGRieter Holding AG
Bühler AGRingier Holding AG
Burckhardt Compression Holding AGRomande Energie Holding SA
Burkhalter Holding AGRonal AG
BVZ Holding AGRuag International AG
Calida Holding AGSanthera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG
Carlo Gavazzi Holding AGSBB Cargo AG
Cembra Money Bank AGSchaffhauser Kantonalbank
Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AGSchaffner Holding AG
Cicor Technologies GroupSchindler Holding AG
Clariant AGSchindler (Schweiz) AG
Coltène Holding AGSchlatter Holding AG
Comet Holding AGSchweiter Technologies AG
Compagnie Financière Richemont SASchweizerische Bundesbahnen SBB
Compagnie financière TraditionSchweizerische Mobiliar Versicherungsgesellschaft AG
Coop GenossenschaftSchweizerische Nationalbank
CPH Chemie + Papier Holding AG Schwyzer Kantonalbank
Crealogix Holding AGSecuritas AG Schweizerische Bewachungsgesellschaft
Credit Suisse Group AGSelecta Management AG
Credit Suisse (Schweiz) AGSensirion AG
CSS GruppeSFS Holding AG
Dätwyler Holding AGSGS SA
Denner AGSiegfried Holding AG
Die Schweizerische PostSiemens Schweiz AG
DKSH Holding AGSiemens Schweiz AG, Smart Infrastructure
dormakaba International Holding AG SIG Holding Ltd.
Dosenbach-Ochsner AGSika AG
Dufry AGSIX Group AG
Edisun Power Europe AGSoftwareOne
EFG International AGSonova Holding AG
Elma Electronic AGSR Technics Group
Emil Frey GruppeSRG SSR
Emmi AGSt. Galler Kantonalbank
EMS-CHEMIE HOLDING AGStadler Rail AG
Endress + Hauser AGStarrag Group Holding AG
Ernst & Young AGStraumann Holding AG
ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère SuisseSulzer AG
Evolva Holding AGSunrise Communications AG
F. Hoffmann-La Roche AGSuva
Feintool International Holding AGSV Group AG
fenacoSV (Schweiz) AG
Firmenich SASwiss Finance & Property Investment AG
Flughafen Zürich AGSwiss International Air Lines AG
Forbo International SASwiss Life Holding
Franke Holding AGSwiss Life Schweiz
Frutiger AGSwiss Prime Site
Galenica AGSwiss Re
GAM Holding AGSwiss Steel Group
gategroupSwisscom AG
Geberit AGSwissport International Ltd.
Generali (Schweiz) Holding AGSwissquote Group Holding AG
Georg Fischer AGSyngenta AG
Givaudan SATecan Group AG
Glarner KantonalbankTemenos Group AG
Glas Trösch Holding AG Tetra Laval Group
Glencore plcThe Swatch Group Ltd.
Goldbach Group AGThurgauer Kantonalbank
Graubündner Kantonalbank Tornos SA
Groupe Minoteries SATriumph International Spiesshofer & Braun
Gurit Holding AGTX Group
Helsana Versicherungen AGu-blox Holding AG
Helvetia GruppeUBS AG
HIAG Immobilien Holding AGUBS Switzerland AG
Highlight Event & Entertainment AGUrner Kantonalbank
HOCHDORF Holding AGV-Zug
Huber + SuhnerValartis Group AG
Hügli Holding AGValiant Holding AG
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AGValora Holding AG
IBM Schweiz AGVAT Group AG
Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd.Vaudoise Assurances Holding SA
Implenia AGVetropack Holding AG
Inficon Holding AGVifor Pharma Management AG
Interroll Holding AGVillars Holding S.A.
Intershop Holding AGVon Roll Holding AG
Investis Holding AGVontobel Holding AG
ISS Holding AGVP Bank AG
IVF HARTMANN AGVZ Holding AG
Jet Aviation Management AGWalliser Kantonalbank
JOWA AGWarteck Invest AG
Julius Bär Holding AGWISeKey International Holding Ltd
Jungfraubahn Holding AG Ypsomed Holding AG
Kardex AGZehnder Group AG
Klingelnberg AGZüblin Immobilien Holding AG
Komax Holding AGZug Estates Holding AG
Kudelski SAZuger Kantonalbank
Kühne + Nagel International AGZürcher Kantonalbank
Kuros Biosciences AGZurich Insurance Group
LafargeHolcim Ltd. Zürich Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG
Landis+Gyr AGZur Rose
Leclanché SAZwahlen & Mayr SA
LEM Holding SA

Abbreviations

AGAktiengesellschaft (joint stock company)Ltd.Limited
CEOChief Executive OfficerNCCNomination and Compensation Committee
CFOChief Financial OfficerplcPublic Limited Company
EBExecutive BoardSBSupervisory Board
EUEuropean UnionSMESmall and medium-sized enterprises
HRHuman ResourcesSMISwiss Market Index
i.e.id estSPISwiss Performance Index

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