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Female Executives Account for Less Than 5% of Total at Top 100 Korean Companies
Glass Ceiling at Korean Companies
Female Executives Account for Less Than 5% of Total at Top 100 Korean Companies
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • October 16, 2018, 11:16
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The number of female executives at Korea's top 100 firms stands at 216, less than 5 percent of the total.

The number of female executives at South Korea's top 100 companies has surpassed 200 for the first time. However, the ratio to the total number hasn’t even reached 5 percent, demonstrating the existence of a “glass ceiling” at Korean companies.

According to an analysis by market researcher Korea CXO Institute on Oct. 15, the number of female executives at the nation’s 100 firms stood at 216 based on their semi-annual reports. Members from corporate owner families and outside members of board of directors were excluded from the count. The proportion of women executives to the total number of chief officers of 6,843 companies came to 3.2 percent, up 1 percentage point from 2.2 percent in 2016. This figure continued to grow from 13 in 2004 to 22 in 2006, 51 in 2010, and 114 in 2013 to 150 in 2016.

Fifty-five firms had at least one female executive. An official from the CXO Institute said, “The number surpassed half of the top 100 companies for the first time after the survey began. The number also continued to increase from 10 in 2004 to 21 in 2010, 30 in 2011, 33 in 2013, and 37 in 2015 to 40 in 2016."

Samsung Electronics Co. had the highest number of women executives at 57. The proportion of female executives to the total number of chief officers at the company reached 5.5 percent, exceeding the average of the top 100 companies. There was a huge gap with the runner-up. AmorePacific Corp. ranked second with 14, followed by Lotte Shopping Co. and CJ CheilJedang Corp. with 10 each, Samsung SDS Co. with 9, KT Corp. with 8 and SK Telecom Co. with 7. Distribution and telecommunications related firms showed a higher number of women executives.

AmorePacific had the highest ratio of female executives to the total. Fourteen out of 75 executives were women, accounting for 18.7 percent. LG Household & Health Care Ltd. showed a 15.8 percent rate, CJ CheilJedang 12.2 percent and Samsung SDS 10.5 percent.