PJ Neal

Thoughts from a more-than-occasional writer

Diversifying the Swiss Executive Ranks [Russell Reynolds Associates]

The Swiss government’s gender guidelines, which mandate that large companies have a minimum of 30 percent women at the supervisory board level, and 20 percent at the executive level, or explain why not, has so far resulted in little improvement in gender diversity.

The twenty companies comprising the Swiss Market Index (SMI) are currently 21 women short in their executive ranks. More concerningly, this number isn’t changing quickly enough. Women currently comprise 13 percent of executive roles, up just one percentage point from the year before.

The next level of Swiss companies, the 30 mid-caps in the SMIM Index, are equally unbalanced, but at least progressing faster. They have jumped to 12.6 percent women from 7.6 percent the year before, and at that rate, will quickly overtake the larger companies in their gender diversity in the senior executive ranks.

Despite that progress, however, Swiss companies are laggards when compared to other countries: The corporations on major indices in Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have on average all exceeded 20 percent women on executive boards.

I had the pleasure of assisting Markus Hofer and Michel Roserens with this paper, which was published by Russell Reynolds Associates.