Gender Diversity Survey—2014 Proxy Season Results

The Fenwick & West Gender Diversity Survey provides exclusive insight into women’s participation at the most senior levels of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 100 Index (S&P 100) and the Silicon Valley 150 Index (SV 150). This unique body of information covers gender diversity trends among the board members and executive management teams of publicly traded companies for the period from the 1996 proxy season through the 2014 proxy season.

Companies, board members and C-level executives can use this survey as a statistical benchmark for Silicon Valley leaders in comparison to the landscape of the largest​​ public companies nationally. Download the 74 page report that reviews nineteen years of filings to analyze the gender makeup of boards and management teams.

This year’s survey introduces the Fenwick Gender Diversity Score™, a metric for assessing gender diversity overall. This composite score is based on data at the board and executive management level in the SV 150, top 15 of the SV 150, and S&P 100 over the nineteen years surveyed and in a set of categories selected as representative of the overall gender diversity picture.

Key takeaways from the 2014 survey include:

Growth rates remain low.

  • The representation of women on boards continues to increase in the U.S. but at lower rates than in other countries. The average percentage of women directors increased one percentage point in each index with the SV 150 increasing to 10.0% and the S&P 100 increasing to 20.9% in 2014 (with the top 15 companies in the SV 150 increasing 1.3 points to 15.7%). However, in the SV 150, the percentage of companies with at least one woman director increased 5.3 points to 62%, and in the S&P 100, 100% of companies now have at least one woman director, a 2 point increase from last year.
  • The representation of women on executive management teams remains low, with most of the data showing small decreases or flat results. For example, in the SV 150, the percentage of companies with at least one woman executive officer decreased from 54.7% in 2013 to 53.3% this year, while the percentage in the S&P 100 remained flat at 84%.

Size continues to matter.

  • Larger companies by revenue and market capitalization tend to have larger boards and executive management teams, which tend to be more diverse.
  • Gender diversity numbers for the top 15 companies in the SV 150 are generally closer to those of the S&P 100, which are essentially their peers in terms of scale.

Except in the top 15 of the SV 150, women CEOs do not have greater gender diversity on their boards and executive teams than men serving as CEOs.

  • The top 15 of the SV 150 have a significantly higher percentage of women executives and “named executive officers” (NEOs) when the CEO is a woman compared to the full SV 150 and the S&P 100.
  • Women CEOs in the top 15 of the SV 150 have a significantly higher percentage of women executives, women NEOs and women serving as committee chairs than their male counterparts; but men and women CEOs have relatively similar numbers in the full 150 and the S&P 100.
  • In the S&P 100 and the full SV 150, women CEOs do not appear to coincide with increased presence of women in boardrooms or executive suites. There is only one woman CEO in the top 15 of the SV 150, so these differences may be an outlier.

S&P 100 shows highest Fenwick Gender Diversity Score™, while SV 150 has highest rate of growth.

  • The S&P 100 had the highest gender diversity score, based on data from 1996 to present, followed by the top 15 of the SV 150, and then the full SV 150.
  • The SV 150, however, had the highest gender diversity growth rate over the survey period.

Top legal and marketing executive positions continue as most diverse.

  • General counsel and top non-sales marketing positions were the most diverse positions in the SV 150 and S&P 100.
  • President/top operations executive was the most diverse position in the top 15 of the SV 150.

Full Coverage:

For each of the S&P 100, top 15 of the SV 150 and the full SV 150, the survey includes review of the gender diversity of:

  • board of directors
  • board committees
  • board and committee leadership
  • executive officers
  • NEOs
  • chief executive officer (CEO)
  • president/top operations executive
  • chief financial officer (CFO)
  • top legal officer/general counsel (GC)
  • top technology/engineering/r&d executive
  • top sales executive
  • top marketing executive
  • top corporate/business development executive

The survey also includes data broken down by the top 50, middle 50 and bottom 50 of the SV 150 in a variety of categories.