File picture
Durban - Despite South Africa's ongoing push for gender transformation in senior positions, the number of female leaders at top companies remains exactly the same as it was in 2015 and has even dropped since 2012, new research shows.

The statistics informing the latest Jack Hammer Executive Report, Volume 5, which is due for release later this year, shows that there has been moderate progress in gender transformation at executive level, but none whatsoever at chief executive level.

The research was conducted by leading local and African search firm Jack Hammer, for its annual publication which investigates the leadership landscape in South Africa and the rest of Africa.

This year, research focused on the management make-up of SA's Top 40 listed companies, as well as a random selection of 40 other large to medium-sized organisations with offices in SA (The Broad 40). “It really does appear that the corner office is the final frontier for women in the country,” said Advaita Naidoo, chief operating officer of Jack Hammer.

She said what was particularly interesting, was the fact that companies did express their desire to appoint female - particularly black female - leaders. “What is not clear is why, despite this gender transformation agenda, women are simply not being appointed to the top job.”

The 2018 research showed that in SA's Top 40 companies, there was only one female chief executive (Maria Ramos of the Absa Group). This was a drop from 2012's research when there were two female chief executives, and exactly the same number - and person - as the 2015 research.

The Mercury