Rate of women CEOs growing locally but still just 5.7%

Women make up over 50% of Israel's working population but only 5.7% of the CEOs and 13.2% of deputy CEOs at its companies are female, a survey conducted by Dun & Bradstreet Israel found.

Women make up over 50 percent of Israel's working population but only 5.7 percent of the chief executive officers and 13.2% of deputy CEOs at its companies are female, a survey conducted by Dun & Bradstreet Israel found. "Although the rate of female CEOs is only around 6%, the rate is growing from year-to-year," said Mina Seligman, product manager at D&B Israel, in a report ahead of International Women's Day on Thursday. "Over the past few years, more and more women are succeeding in occupying key positions in the Israeli economy, while proving that they have management qualifications in as much as their male counterpart." Seligman added that once nanny costs are recognized as a paid expense, more women would be able to enter the labor market and reach key positions. The D&B survey found that when comparing the participation of female CEOs in the labor market according to company size, the percentage among small companies of up to 10 employees and among large companies of more than 100 companies was nearly equal at 6.4% and 6.3%, respectively. The percentage of female CEOs in medium-sized companies was slightly lower at 5%. The same was not the case when examining the percentage of female deputy CEOs. The smaller the company, the higher the percentage of female deputy CEOs, the study determined. In small companies, 17.6% of all deputy CEOs were female compared with 13.3% in medium-sized businesses and 11.3% in large companies. Sector by sector analysis showed that there are still certain fields that are predominantly occupied by men such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing. The sector with the highest representation of women CEOs, which stood at 13.2%, was found in chains of clothes retailers such as Etti Roter, the co-CEO of Castro or Ilana Kaufman, CEO of Golf. On the other hand, only 2.2% of all heads of contracting companies were female. A high rate of 12.3% of female CEOs was found in public services. Female deputy CEOs, meanwhile, are highly represented in food services such as restaurants (23.5%), leasing services (22.6%) and in the printing business (21.7%). Low participation of female deputy CEOs was found in food shops (6.3%), furniture (7.7%) and electrical appliances (8.9%). Tehila Yanai, co-CEO at Business Data Israel said that according to the most recent data collected from the 500 leading companies in Israel in 2006, the rate of women in senior positions was 4.3%. "Although the rate is relatively low, we see a growing trend of women making it into senior positions and we expect the rate to be higher in 2007," said Yanai. Separately, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce conducted a special survey ahead of International Women's Day, which showed that 46% of the employees in the trade and services sector were female with 25% holding management positions. Of the female workers in these sectors, 69% were working mothers of which only 27% were in management positions. The FICC survey, which examined 90 companies across a number of fields, revealed that the average age of women in management positions in the majority of companies was 36 to 45, while the average age of working women in secretarial positions was 30 to 40. Similarly, a survey by the Manufacturers Association of Israel found that the average rate of female participation in directorates was 25%. Ronit Sklar, chairman of the Women Industrialists Forum at the Manufacturers Association, called upon the manufacturers to double the rate to 50%. Furthermore, she suggested that companies in the public sector should be obliged by law to appoint women to directorate positions. Sklar added that today there are 5,700 female managers representing 5.1% of all employees in industry, compared with 29,000 male managers. About 4,700 women were working in technology professions in fields such as engineering, electricity and computing. A survey carried by the Superpharm chain among 500 women in honor of International Women's Day found that although over 50% of the working women had a bad conscience because of their children, only 25% of them indicated they would be happy to give up their career.