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Women in CEO positions are still a rare sight compared to men, but a new study shows gender parity in the C-suite is slowly but steadily progressing.
Chicago-based consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas recorded 1,043 CEO replacements at U.S. companies in 2016. Of the new CEOs, 193, or 18.5 percent, were women. That statistic is up from 2015, when women represented 157, or 15 percent, of new CEOs.
Staples, Hershey, Hertz and Reynolds American Inc. were among the major companies in the firm’s 2016 study, according to a news release. Shira Goodman, Michele Buck, Kathryn Marinello and Susan Cameron lead those companies, respectively.
Among the CEO replacements in the study, 129 women replaced male CEOs and 99 men succeeded women.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows women outnumber men in management, professional and occupation job categories. There were 30.6 million women in these categories in December, compared to 29.5 million men.
“Women are definitely making gains in the management and professional occupations. As they do, more and more move up into the executive suite and are increasingly exposed to opportunities for the top spot,” Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John A. Challenger said in the news release.
Women represent just 5 percent of Fortune 1000 CEOs. However, those women-led companies make up 7 percent of the Fortune 1000’s total revenue.