Women CEOs in Korea are still few and far between

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Women CEOs in Korea are still few and far between

 
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While more women are running Korean companies these days, international companies have many more women as their chief executives.    
The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) on Tuesday in celebration of International Women’s Day released a study on women CEOs in Korea.  
 
The study, which was conducted on Kospi and Kosdaq-listed companies, found that the ratio of women CEOs to all CEOs steadily increased from 2.8 percent in 2015 to 3.6 percent in 2019.  
 
In 2015, there were only 75 women CEOs out of the total 2,716 CEOs at listed companies. In 2019, that figure rose to 115 out of 3,187.  
 
When compared to major global companies, the figure is low. According to the U.S. non-government organization Catalyst, women CEOs as of January this year accounted for 6 percent of S&P 500 company leaders.  
 
The FKI study has also found the ratio of women high-ranking company officers to all high ranking company officers has been on the rise.  
 
Among 24,628 high-ranking executives at local companies, only 3 percent, or 727, were women in 2015. In 2019, that figure rose to 1,314 out of nearly 30,000, to a ratio of 4.5 percent.  
 
The smaller the company, the higher ratio of female executives.  
 
The SME female executive ratio as of 2019 was 5.5 percent. For companies in between SMEs and the chaebol, the ratio was at 4.4 percent. At chaebol, the ratio was 3.8 percent.  
 
By industry, education services has the highest ratio, at 16.4 percent, while arts, sports and leisure companies trailed behind, at 9.9 percent. In leasing services and facility management, the ratio was 7.8 percent.  
 
Construction had the lowest, with female executives only accounting for 1.8 percent, while logistics and storage trailed behind, with 3.2 percent. In finance and insurance, the ratio was 3.7 percent.  
 
“When compared to major global companies, women advancing to higher positions in local companies is still low,” said Kim Bong-min, head of the International Affairs department at FKI. “As women advancing into society will contribute largely to our economic growth in long-term, the companies and the government should work on expanding the female workforce.”  
 
BY KIM KYUNG-MEE  [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
 
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