Women Hold on to Senior-Level Banking Jobs Number of Female Execs Remains Steady, According to Women at the Top® Study

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Annual Women at the Top® Study shows the number of women in senior-level positions at the nation’s 50 largest banks is holding steady, with modest improvements in the number of women reaching the C-suite level.

Women are not losing ground, even as the number of available executive jobs declines, which we see as a positive result.

Amid bank consolidation and a declining number of senior management positions overall, women held on to C-level jobs. In 2012, about one in five women hold executive roles at the nation’s 50 largest banks, according to the latest Women at the Top® Study.

Women comprise 16.7 percent of executive roles, which remains relatively unchanged from last year’s 17.6 percent. The number of top positions overall declined to 842 this year, from 940 in 2011.

“Women are not losing ground, even as the number of available executive jobs declines, which we see as a positive result,” said Regina Barr, founder of the WATT® Network and president of Red Ladder, Inc. “As leadership turnover continues, we’re optimistic that more women will move into senior management.”

Of the 141 women in senior management – roles such as senior vice president, executive vice president and president – only 32 held the most prominent, C-level roles at the nation’s largest banks. Women lost ground as chief executive officers – this year, there are two female bank CEOs, while last year there were three – and as chief financial officers, down to five this year from nine in 2011. The number of women in each position included:

Chief Executive Officer (Bank)             2
Chief Executive Officer (Bank Division)        5
Chief Executive Officer (Asset Mgmt)        1
Chief Financial Officer (Bank Division)        3
Chief Credit Officer                2
Chief Risk Officer                3
Chief Information Officer            1
Chief Operations Officer            4
Chief Marketing Officer            2
Chief Administrative Officer            2
Chief Human Resources Officer            7

Another area of progress has been the number of banks with women in senior management. In 2007, 30 percent of the nation’s largest banks did not have a single woman in a senior-level position. Now, just four of the banks, or 8 percent, have no women in management.

The Women at the Top® (WATT®) Network, a nationwide community of high-achieving women, sponsors the annual study.

The WATT® Study does not track the number of women holding executive-level positions in Wall Street investment firms, but its results are similar to that of the research firm Catalyst, whose most recent Census of Women Executive Officers and Top Earners found that 18.4 percent of executive officers in the Fortune 500’s finance and insurance firms are women.

A recent story in American Banker noted that “tomorrow’s leaders will need a different mix of technical skills and ‘soft skills,’ such as communication, relationship building and cross-cultural intelligence,” which may give women greater opportunities in the coming years.

About the WATT® Study: Students at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, led by instructor Terrilyn Morgan, conducted the WATT® Study. Students identified and ranked by asset size the nation’s 50 largest commercial banks, using Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data as of December 31, 2011, and then used publicly available information such as annual reports to determine the number of women in leadership positions. The WATT® Study has been conducted regularly since 1999.

About the Women at the Top® Network: The Women at the Top® Network is a community of aspiring women who share the desire to develop and nurture their own leadership skills and those of other women. For more information, visit http://www.theWATTnetwork.com or call (651) 453-1007.
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© 2012. Women at the Top and WATT are registered trademark of Red Ladder, Inc. All rights reserved.

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