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Working Mother Media Names Top 75 Companies for Executive Women

Lisa Lockwood
·3 min read

Working Mother Media revealed the 2020+ Top Companies for Executive Women today, acknowledging those that champion women’s advancement with a focus on succession planning, profit-and-loss role, gender pay parity, support programs and work-life balance.

The top 10 companies, in alphabetical order, are Abbott, AbbVie, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, FleishmanHillard, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Marriott International, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever.

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Others in the apparel/beauty/jewelry sector that made the top 75 were Chico’s, The Estée Lauder Cos., Gap, Inc., Kendra Scott and VF Corp.

L’Oréal has been on the Top Companies for Executive Women list for six years. The percentage of women on the beauty giant’s board of directors is 47 percent. Fifty-two percent of women are in P&L positions, and 33 percent of women are direct reports to the chief executive officer. The company has formal executive succession planning and trains managers to develop and promote women.

Unilever has been on the list for two years. Its board of directors has 30 percent women, and 38 percent of women are in P&L positions. Twenty-two percent of women are direct reports to the ceo. The company doesn’t have formal executive succession planning, nor does it train managers to develop and promote women.

P&G, which has been on the list for 20 years, has a board with 31 percent women. Thirty six percent of women are in P&L posts, the percentage of women who directly report to the ceo is 25 percent, and the percent of women in formal sponsorship is 5 percent. The company doesn’t have formal executive succession planning but does train managers to develop and promote women.

At the top 75 companies, the survey found the percentage of women corporate executives rose 1 percent to 31 versus 30 in 2019. Female executives responsible for divisions worth more than $1 billion decreased to 30 percent from 38 percent in 2019. Forty-three percent of women at the top 75 companies are among the top 20 percent in pay, up from 37 percent in 2019. Sixty percent of the top 75 companies offer formal sponsorship, down from 71 percent in 2019. That means that the company helps arrange the pairings, offers training and monitors results.

“Because what gets measured gets done, our top companies list stresses the number of women in senior positions. Most important, we are the only organization that counts women holding revenue-generating operations positions with profit-and-loss responsibility, as those are the jobs that are the path to the top,” said Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives (a division of Working Mother Media). “Companies need to pay attention because that number dropped in the past year, even pre-COVID-19.”

The 2020+ survey includes more than 200 questions on topics including female representation at all levels, but especially the corporate officer and profit-and-loss leadership ranks. The application, based on 2019 data, tracks and examines how many employees have access to programs and policies that promote advancement of women and how many employees take advantage of them, along with how companies train managers to help women advance. To be considered, companies must have a minimum of two women on their board of directors, a U.S.-based chief executive officer and at least 1,000 U.S. employees.

Companies submitted their applications in March 2020. Typically, Working Mother would reveal the annual list in March, 2021, but the COVID-related schedule gave them the opportunity to align the year that data is gathered with the year winners are revealed. These are the 2020+ winners. The 2021 Top Companies for Executive Women list will be made public in the fourth quarter of 2021 and reflect the 2021 application.