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International comparison Women underrepresented at top levels of Swiss business

Marissa Mayer, CEO at Yahoo, is one of the world's best-known female faces in a high-profile top job

(Keystone)

Women are still a relatively rare sight in the upper levels of Swiss companies, according to a report by Credit Suisse that makes an international comparison of the representation of women in business.

Although Switzerland placed in the middle of the rankings in terms of company bosses, it was a different story when it came to heads of finance and other management positions.

In the past eight years the share of women on supervisory boards has grown by 55%, but with a share of 13.4% of women on these boards, Switzerland is behind the international average of 14.7%. In Europe, the share of women on boards of directors is twice as high as in Switzerland.

The share of women at the top levels of company management stands at 6.8% in Switzerland, and in Europe, 12.6%.

This is how Switzerland shaped up against a selection of the countries in the 2016 “CS Gender 3000external link” report.

women in top jbs

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When it came to the top job at a company, the share of women in Swiss CEO roles stood at 3.8%, just behind the international average of 3.9%. 

The report found that a structural problem was at play – with 70% fewer women in charge of a company’s finances, and 67% fewer heading up strategy or operations, there was a lack of women in a position to move on to becoming CEOs. These positions often serve as a springboard for the top job or a spot on the board of directors.

The bank concluded that with a smaller pool of women lower down the ladder in Switzerland than in other countries, the situation was unlikely to change in the medium term without a larger proportion of women ready to move up a rank.

The bank looked at the number of women in top jobs across 78 Swiss companies, and made a comparison with 3,000 businesses worldwide. The annual report also commented that companies with a balanced gender ratio were more profitable. 

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