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Women still underrepresented at executive levels

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Only 37% of board members are made up of women

Women make up the majority of internal workers at staffing companies, but they are still underrepresented at the executive, CEO and board levels, according to the “Insights on Gender Parity in the US Staffing Industry” report. Its data comes from a study led by the Women Business Collaborative with support from the American Staffing Association, National Association of Personnel Services, Staffing Industry Analysts and the TechServe Alliance.

Of staffing firms surveyed, women represented a median 66% of internal staff. However, they represented only a median 50% of executive team members and a median 37% of board members. And these percentages could even overstate the actual proportion of women in executive and board roles, as staffing firms with female executives may have been more likely to participate in this survey. In comparison, a similar survey last year found that women represented a median 56% of internal staff, but they represented only a median 46% of executive team members and a median 36% of board members.

“This benchmark study and SIA’s report are game changers in the staffing industry in addition to being a very clear call to action for all leaders,” said Ursula Williams, chief operating officer for SIA. “Using the data and analysis in this report, industry professionals see the degree of gender parity as well as gain a greater understanding of the key strategies for supporting and advancing women. This will change our industry — and our workforce — for the better.”

It also found that women account for a substantial share of CEO/ownership at small staffing firms, but representation lags at midsize and large staffing firms. For small firms — those with less than $25 million in revenue — 53% had CEOs/owners who were women. That number went down to 45% among midsize firms — those with between $25 million and $100 million in revenue. It went down even further to 18% at large staffing firms with revenue of more than $100 million. The report noted that only 8.8% of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs.

Interestingly, female-owned staffing firms had a higher Net Promoter Score than male-owned staffing firms, 84 versus 53. However, the report noted that association is not the same thing as causation, and there can be several factors at play. For example, the NPS for small staffing firms in aggregate in the survey was 75 while the NPS was 50 for large staffing firms, and small staffing firms have a larger percentage of female owners than midsize or large staffing firms.

The report is available online, and there is also a dynamic dashboard to view survey results, the “WBC Benchmark Survey on Gender Equity in the Staffing Industry.”

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