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E-mail: business_stats@cso.ie Ger Doolan (+353) 21 453 5130 Deirdre O'Connor +353 21 453 5206 Alan Finlay (+353) 21 453 5211
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information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2565-6481
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Gender Balance in Business Survey

2019

Gender breakdown by senior roles in business, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Chairpersons92.67.4
Boards of Directors80.419.6
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)88.511.5
Senior Executives71.728.3

Only one in nine CEOs in Ireland were women

Figure 1: Gender breakdown by senior roles in business, 2019
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Only one in nine CEOs in large enterprises in Ireland in 2019 were women. Women occupied 28% of Senior Executive roles compared with 72% for men. The vast majority of Chairpersons were male at 93% with 7% being female. The overall composition of Boards of Directors was 80% male and 20% female. See headline table and Figure 1.

MaleFemale
Less than 1 year65.834.2
1-2 years69.930.1
3-4 years69.630.4
5 or more years75.124.9

Senior Executives

One-third of persons appointed to Senior Executive posts within the past year were women and two-thirds were men. A quarter of all Senior Executives in their roles for five or more years were women. See Figure 2 and Table 2.

 

Three-quarters of appointments to Senior Executive posts within the past five years were from within the enterprise and one quarter of such positions were filled externally. The gender breakdown was broadly similar for both internal and external appointees, although the share of women in external appointments, at 31%, was somewhat higher than for internal, at 27%. See Figures 3 and 4.

 

Internal
Male72.8
Female27.2
External
Male69.5
Female30.5
MaleFemale
Irish-owned73.826.2
Foreign-owned69.430.6

There was a higher percentage of female Senior Executives in Foreign-owned enterprises as opposed to Irish-owned enterprises in 2019; 31% in Foreign-owned enterprises were women compared to 26% in Irish-owned enterprises. See Figure 5.

 

MaleFemale
Industry (B to E)73.826.2
Construction (F)91.18.9
Wholesale and retail trade (G)68.531.5
Transportation and storage (H)75.324.7
Accommodation and food service activities (I)53.946.1
Information and communication (J)75.824.2
Financial and Insurance (K)74.125.9
Real estate and Professional, scientific and technical activities (L + M)7030
Administrative and support service activities (N)63.336.7
Other service activities (R + S)70.629.4
Services G - S (excl O, P and Q)68.631.4
  • In 2019, 72% of all Senior Executives were men and 28% women.
  • Men accounted for 74% of Senior Executives in the Industry sector and 69% in the Services sector.
  • In the Construction sector (NACE F), men accounted for 91% of Senior Executives. The Constuction sector had the lowest representation of women in senior roles, at 9%.
  • The Information and communication sector (NACE J) together with the Transportation and storage sector (NACE H) recorded the next lowest level of female representation with 24% and 25% respectively.
  • The Accommodation and food service activities sector (NACE I) had the highest percentage of female Senior Executives at 46%, with the Administrative and support service activities sector (NACE N) next highest at 37%. See Figure 6 and Table 3.
MaleFemale
Less than 1 year69.930.1
1-2 years79.620.4
3-4 years77.922.1
5 or more years83.416.6

Boards of Directors 

The composition of Boards of Directors of large enterprises in Ireland in 2019 was 80% male and 20% female. Figure 7 shows the gender breakdown of company directors by time on the Board. For directors appointed in the last 12 months, 30% were women compared to 17% for those appointed five or more years ago. See Figure 7 and Table 4.

One-sixth of women on Boards of Directors were appointed within the past year; one-tenth of men on Boards of Directors were appointed in the past year. Directors with five or more years board membership accounted for 56% of all male directors and 45% of all female directors. See Table 5.

MaleFemale
Irish-owned81.218.8
Foreign-owned78.721.3

Foreign-owned enterprises had a slightly higher percentage of women on the Board of Directors than Irish-owned enterprises; 21% of directors were female in Foreign-owned and 19% in Irish-owned. See Figure 8.

 

MaleFemale
Industry (B to E)8317
Construction (F)91.58.5
Wholesale and retail trade (G)82.217.8
Transportation and storage (H)80.219.8
Accommodation and food service activities (I)79.220.8
Information and communication (J)7624
Financial and Insurance (K)81.518.5
Real estate and Professional, scientific and technical activities (L + M)75.924.1
Administrative and support service activities (N)76.123.9
Other service activities (R + S)74.425.6
Services G - S (excl O, P and Q)78.421.6
  • In 2019, the Boards of Directors of large enterprises comprised 80% men and 20% women.
  • Men accounted for 83% of all board membership in the Industry sector and 78% in the Services sector.
  • In the Construction sector (NACE F), men accounted for 92% of directors. The Construction sector had the lowest representation of women in director roles, at 8%.
  • The Wholesale and retail trade sector (NACE G) and the Financial and Insurance sector (NACE K) reported the next lowest rate of female board membership with 18% and 19% respectively.
  • The Other service activities sectors (NACE R+S) had the highest percentage of female board members at 26%. See Figure 9 and Table 6.
MaleFemale
Less than 1 year8119
1-2 years95.74.3
3-4 years97.12.9
5 or more years92.77.3

Chairpersons

Just 7% of Boards of Directors of large enterprises in Ireland in 2019 had a female Chairperson. For Chairpersons appointed within the last 12 months, 19% were female and 81% were male. For Chairpersons appointed more than one year ago, the percentage of male appointees was close to 95%. See Figure 10.

 

MaleFemale
Irish-owned94.75.3
Foreign-owned89.410.6

Nearly 11% of Foreign-owned enterprises in 2019 had a female Chairperson compared to 5% of Irish-owned enterprises. See Figure 11.

 

Table 1: Gender breakdown by senior roles in business, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Chairpersons92.67.4
Boards of Directors80.419.6
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)88.511.5
Senior Executives71.728.3
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs)70.329.7
Table 2: Gender breakdown of Senior Executives by time in position, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Less than 1 year65.834.2
1-2 years69.930.1
3-4 years69.630.4
5 or more years75.124.9
Source: CSO
Table 3: Gender breakdown of Senior Executives by sector, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Industry (B to E)73.826.2
Construction (F)91.18.9
Wholesale and retail trade (G)68.531.5
Transportation and storage (H)75.324.7
Accommodation and food service activities (I)53.946.1
Information and communication (J)75.824.2
Financial and Insurance (K)74.125.9
Real estate and Professional, scientific and technical activities (L + M)70.030.0
Administrative and support service activities (N)63.336.7
Other service activities (R + S)70.629.4
Services G - S (excl O, P and Q)68.631.4
Source: CSO
Table 4: Gender breakdown of Directors by time on the board, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Less than 1 year69.930.1
1-2 years79.620.4
3-4 years77.922.1
5 or more years83.416.6
Source: CSO
Table 5: Board members by number of years on the board, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Less than 1 year9.717.0
1-2 years17.418.1
3-4 years17.319.9
5 or more years55.645.0
Total100.0100.0
Source: CSO
Table 6: Gender breakdown of Directors by sector, 2019
 MaleFemale
 %%
Industry (B to E)83.017.0
Construction (F)91.58.5
Wholesale and retail trade (G)82.217.8
Transportation and storage (H)80.219.8
Accommodation and food service activities (I)79.220.8
Information and communication (J)76.024.0
Financial and Insurance (K)81.518.5
Real estate and Professional, scientific and technical activities (L + M)75.924.1
Administrative and support service activities (N)76.123.9
Other service activities (R + S)74.425.6
Services G - S (excl O, P and Q)78.421.6
Source: CSO

Background Notes

Introduction 

The Gender Balance in Business Survey 2019 provides the first official statistics from the CSO on gender representation in Senior Executive teams and Boards of Directors of large enterprises in Ireland. The survey was conducted in response to the Balance for Better Business initiative and it aims to provide benchmark information on gender representation. The CSO plans to repeat this survey every two years to track future trends.

The survey was collected by the CSO between February and April 2019. The online questionnaire asked for the gender breakdown of the Senior Executive team and Boards of Directors.  

Sample

The scope of the survey is large enterprises (i.e. those with over 250 employees). A total of about 600 enterprises were surveyed and the response rate to the survey was 55%. The survey returns analysed in this report comprise about 3,700 persons in Senior Executive positions or on Boards of Directors in the respondent enterprises.  

The results from the sample are unweighted and are presented as percentage breakdowns between male and female.

Statistical Confidentiality

The survey was collected from enterprises on a voluntary basis under Section 24 of the Statistics Act, 1993.

The information collected in the survey is confidential under the Statistics Act and will only be used by the Central Statistics Office for the compilation of aggregate statistics. The CSO has checked the statistical outputs of the survey to ensure that tables do not disclose details of any individual or company. In general, this means that the results do not include multi-variate cross-classifications. The raw data will not be shared with any other organisations.

The CSO wishes to thank all the companies that took part in the Gender Balance in Business Survey 2019.

Questionnaire

The survey was collected via an online questionnaire. For the Senior Executive Team, the survey asked for name, job title, gender, length of time in years in the position and the length of time in years working in the company. For the Boards of Directors, the survey asked the name of the board members, whether executive or non-executive, gender and length of time in years on the board. The questions distinguished the key post of Chair of Board.

For the purposes of the survey, Senior Executives were defined as those individuals at the highest level of management of an organisation who have the day-to-day tasks of managing that organisation and who hold executive powers delegated to them with and by authority of a Boards of Directors and/or the shareholders. The Boards of Directors was defined as a recognised group of people who jointly oversee the activities of an organisation or company and which is the highest authority in the management of the company and sets out the overall strategic direction to be taken.

Coverage

The survey covered all large enterprises, i.e. those with over 250 employees. The sectors included in the survey were NACE sections B to S excluding NACE sections O, P and Q (see below for explanation of NACE classification).

Classification by Sector

The results include a breakdown into the following NACE Rev 2 sections (NACE is the EU classification of Economic Activity):

Section B:       Mining and quarrying

Section C:       Manufacturing

Section D:       Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

Section E:       Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Section F:       Construction

Section G:      Wholesale and retail trade; Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

Section H:       Transportation and storage

Section I:        Accommodation and food service activities

Section J:       Information and communication

Section K:       Financial and insurance activities

Section L:       Real estate activities   

Section M:      Professional, scientific and technical activities

Section N:       Administrative and support service activities

Section R:       Arts, entertainment and recreation

Section S:       Other service activities

NACE sections O (Public administration and Defence), P (Education) and Q (Human Health and social work activities) were not included in the survey.

Further information on the NACE Rev 2 classification is available at: http://www.cso.ie/en/surveysandmethodology/classifications/

Nationality of Ownership

The results include breakdowns between Irish-owned and Foreign-owned businesses. The classification by nationality of ownership is determined by the nationality of the owners of 50 per cent or more of the share capital. 

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