42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics

42 Worrying Workplace Stress Statistics
ByDamjan Jugovic Spajic
June 11,2021

Stress, depression, and anxiety are, unfortunately, part of the modern human condition. Global statistics show that an increasing amount of people are struggling with mental health issues. Thankfully, we’re now talking more openly about these problems than ever before. 

Workplace stress makes up a significant part of the general mental health crisis. Changes in the economy and increased financial concerns translate into pressure at work. Workplace stress statistics reveal that heavy workloads, deadlines, and demanding bosses all contribute to the problem. Stress due to work, if left untreated, can cause serious mental health problems for employees. There’s a financial burden, too; stress can lead to serious drops in productivity and end up costing a huge amount for both private companies and governments.

We’ve compiled these statistics concerning stress in the workplace to show you just how big a problem work-related stress is.

Workplace Stress Statistics - Editor’s Choice

  • 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress.
  • US businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result of workplace stress.
  • Stress causes around one million workers to miss work every day.
  • Only 43% of US employees think their employers care about their work-life balance.
  • Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs.
  • Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.

General Stats on Stress

55% of Americans are stressed during the day.

(Gallup)

Americans are among the most stressed out populations in the world. Drawing from Gallup’s 2019 data on emotional states, over half of the American population experience stress during the day. This is 20% higher than the world average of 35%. According to these stress stats, the US is getting closer and closer to Greece, whose population has been the most stressed out in the world since 2012, with 59% of Greeks experiencing stress daily.

On a scale from one to 10, Americans rate their stress level as 4.9.

(APA)

American Psychological Association stress statistics from 2014 show that US citizens rated their stress level as 4.9 on a scale from one to 10. This was an improvement from 2007, when the rating was a disturbing 6.2.

Americans aged 30-49 are the most stressed age group.

(Gallup)

Drawing from Gallup’s poll on stress levels between different age groups, we can see that 65% of the 30-49 group experiences stress. Americans aged 15-29 are right behind them with 64%, while 44% of people older than 50 reported feeling stressed out.

Women are more stressed out than men.

(APA)

The gender gap seems to be present when it comes to stress, too. According to the APA Stress in America 2016 survey, on a scale of one to 10, women described their stress levels as 5.1, compared to stress levels of 4.4 among men.

(Everyday Health)

Everyday Health’s United States of Stress research reveals some concerning data. Current statistics about stress in the workplace indicate that over a third of all US respondents have visited a doctor for stress-related problems in the past year. Among those who have a diagnosed mental health condition, 54% visited a doctor.

52% of Generation Z in the US have been diagnosed with mental health issues.

(Everyday Health)

There is a noticeable generation gap between baby boomers and Gen Z in terms of stress. While 52% of Gen Z has been diagnosed with mental health issues, only 41% of baby boomers have been.

57% of stressed out respondents are paralyzed by stress.

(Everyday Health)

Data from United States of Stress research conducted by Everyday Health indicates that 57% of those who experience stress are paralyzed by it. On the other hand, the other 43% stated that stress invigorates them.

Statistics on Stress in the Workplace

(Everest College)

A shocking statistic for sure, but nobody is really that surprised. Everest College’s comprehensive survey shows that the overwhelming majority of US workers are stressed as a result of work. This clearly indicates the magnitude of the problem in the US and that one of the major causes for it is stress in the workplace.

In 2019, 94% of American workers reported experiencing stress at their workplace.

(Wrike)

According to Wrike’s United States stress statistics from 2019, only 6% of workers didn’t report feeling stressed at work. Around 23% of them described their stress levels as high, while 6% said their levels of stress were unreasonably high. This statistic indicates that working in a stressful working environment is the rule, not the exception.

35% of respondents said their main source of stress at work was their boss.

(Korn Ferry)

Bosses and management in general seem to be a major cause of stress for workers. Over a third of surveyed US workers cited their boss as the main source of their work-related stress. Also, 80% of workers covered in the survey said leadership changes affect their levels of stress.

During 2019, 80% of workers in the US were stressed as the result of ineffective company communication.

(Dynamic Signal)

Stress in the workplace statistics from 2019 keep bearing grim news. Dynamic Signal conducted a survey among more than 1,000 US workers, with 80% of them reporting being stressed out because of poor communication practices by their employers, a 30% increase from the previous year.

63% of US workers are ready to quit their jobs due to stress.

(Dynamic Signal)

The 2019 State of Employee Communication and Engagement study conducted by Dynamic Signal also reveals how many workers are on the edge of quitting their jobs because of stress. Nearly two-thirds of the surveyed workers - 63%, to be precise - are ready to quit their jobs as a result of workplace stress.

In 2017, 39% of workers said that a heavy workload was their main cause of stress.

(Statista)

Research conducted by Statista in 2017 highlights the main causes of workplace stress. Workload was the main cause for stress for 39% of workers, while the other major sources in the workplace were interpersonal issues (31%), juggling work and personal life (19%), and job security (6%).

Over a third of people said their job was a regular source of stress in 2018.

(Everyday Health)

Everyday Health’s 2018 workplace stress stats show that over 30% of all respondents marked their job or careers as regular causes of stress. Among millenials and Gen Z, this statistic jumps to 44%, further proving that stress is on the rise among younger generations and presents a larger global problem than it did 20 or 30 years ago.

54% of workers report that stress from work affects their life at home.

(Wrike)

Stress in the workplace stats published by Wrike indicate that 54% of workers say workplace stress impacts their home life in a negative way. Work-related stress not only influences our careers and how we feel and perform on the job; it affects our whole life.

Work is among the top three sources of stress for Americans.

(APA)

The American Psychological Association conducted a survey in 2017 to determine stress levels and the main sources of stress for Americans. In a multi-choice survey the most common source of stress was “the future of our nation” (63%), followed by money (62%) and work (61%).

75% of workers believe they are more stressed out than previous generations.

(NIOSH)

As our previous stats have indicated, younger generations seem to be struggling with stress significantly more than older ones. Research by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on workplace stress statistics over the years shows that 75% of workers think they are experiencing more stress than previous generations did.

Depression is one of the three main workplace problems for employee assistance professionals.

(Mental Health America)

Aside from stress, depression is a major concern when talking about mental health in the workplace. According to depression stats provided by Mental Health America, depression is one of the three biggest problems for employee assistance professionals, with family crisis and stress being the first two.

Only 43% of US employees think their employers care about their work-life balance.

(APA)

Under half of workers covered by this APA survey from 2011 believed their employers took their work-life balance into consideration. Stats like these indicate how severe the schism between employees and employers is in the US.

Effects of Stress in the Workplace statistics

During 2018, 76% of US workers said that workplace stress affected their personal relationships.

(Korn Ferry)

This is another statistic that demonstrates just how much workplace stress affects other areas of our life. According to research by Korn Ferry, the majority of stressed employees reported that workplace stress has impacted upon their personal relationships in a negative manner.

Stress caused sleep deprivation for 66% of American workers in 2018.

(Korn Ferry)

It goes without saying that stress impacts health. Two-thirds of respondents involved in Korn Ferry’s study said they had trouble sleeping as a consequence of work-related stress. Mental health in the workplace statistics clearly show that this reduces worker productivity and leads to even more stress.

16% of workers have quit their jobs due to stress.

(Korn Ferry)

Increasing amounts of stress create unbearable working conditions for some. Almost every one in six workers (16%) has quit a job as a result of work-related stress.

60% of workers have left a job or would leave one over a bad boss.

(Randstad USA)

As we’ve already mentioned, bosses are the main source of stress at work. When we look at the stress statistics in the workplace provided by Randstad USA, we can see that over half of workers have already quit or would quit their job if they had a bad boss.

31% of surveyed US workers said that being unclear about expectations from supervisors is the most stressful element when experiencing change at work.

(Chicago Tribune)

Of 2,000 respondents who participated in the survey, 620 (31%) said that not being clear about expectations from upper management is the most stressful aspect of undergoing changes at their workplace. Once again, stress workplace statistics confirm that management-worker relations seem to be one of the most prominent factors for workplace stress.

Around 46% of workers are considered joining the gig economy in 2019.

(Randstad USA)

The gig economy is on the rise. Nowadays, more and more workers prefer to work independently, be their own boss, and determine their own schedule. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a considerable number of workers want to switch over to the gig economy in order to reduce their work-related stress. Randstad USA’s statistics about stress in the workplace reveal that almost half (46%) of surveyed workers considered switching over to the gig economy during 2019.

Workers say that stress and anxiety affect their work productivity and coworker relations more than any other factor.

(ADAA)

One of the most comprehensive surveys concerning stress and anxiety in the workplace comes from the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). According to workplace productivity statistics from the ADAA, workers identify workplace productivity (56%) and relationships with coworkers and peers (51%) as being affected the most by stress and anxiety.

51% of US workers are mentally “checked out” at work.

(Gallup)

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey looked at how engaged US workers are in the workplace. The study found more than 50% of workers are not engaged at work as a result of stress, leading to a loss of productivity.

41% of stressed workers say stress leads to a loss in productivity.

(Colonial Life)

Stress negatively impacts how we perform and function both in the workplace and in our daily lives. As a recent survey conducted by Colonial Life shows, 41% of workers say stress has caused a drop in work productivity. Furthermore, stress statistics in the workplace also reveal that a third of surveyed employees say stress leads to lower engagement levels at work, while 15% say increasing pressure at work has pushed them into looking for other jobs.

Over a quarter of employees are at risk of burning out in the next 12 months.

(Wrike)

Being under stress for prolonged periods of time can have serious consequences. It sometimes leads to burnout, when someone reaches a tipping point where he or she is unable to work at all. Burning out doesn’t only affect people’s work; it can also lead to serious mental health issues. According to Wrike’s 2019 US workplace stress statistics, if current stress levels don’t change, more than a third of stressed office workers feel they will burn out in the next 12 months.

Women are more likely to handle stress by eating more (46%) and talking with family and friends (44%), while men are more likely to have sex more frequently (19%) and use illicit drugs (12%).

(ADAA)

There are significant differences in how men and women manage stress at the workplace. Women tend to eat more (46% of women compared to 27% of men) and talk with friends and family (44% compared to 21%). On the other hand, men are more likely to have sex more frequently (19% compared to 10%), while 12% of men cope by using illicit drugs, compared to only 2% of women.

Both men and women handle stress by consuming more caffeine (31%), smoking (27%), and exercising more frequently (25%).

(ADAA)

With ever-increasing levels of stress, it's important to look at how we manage when things get tough. As these statistics on workplace stress by the ADAA suggest, the genders have some things in common when it comes to handling stress, although it’s fair to say these aren’t always the healthiest methods. The most common methods are consuming more caffeine (31%), followed by smoking (27%) and exercise (25%).

Only 40% of employees who suffer from stress have talked to their employer about it.

(ADAA)

Statistics for stress in the workplace tell us that most workers don’t feel comfortable reporting stress-related problems at work. Less than half of surveyed employees have told their employers about the work-related stress they’re experiencing.

34% of workers don’t feel safe reporting stress because they think it would be interpreted as a lack of interest or unwillingness to do the activity.

(ADAA)

There are several reasons why workers don’t talking about stress with their employers. The most prominent one is that they think it will be interpreted as a lack of interest or unwillingness to do the activity (34%), followed by fear of being “weak” (31%), then because they worry it will affect promotion opportunities (22%).

Only four in 10 workers who report stress to their employer are offered some kind of help.

(ADAA)

When workers do end up asking for help, the response they receive is not great. Statistics on US stress in the workplace say only 40% of employees are offered help by their employers. Usually this help consists of being referred to a mental health professional (26%) or being offered a stress-management class (22%).

Statistics on the Cost of Workplace Stress

(Center for Workplace Mental Health)

Both the human and financial costs of stress are enormous. Statistics for workplace stress show that around 120,000 people die each year from work-related stress. The cost of stress in the workplace also drains the US budget, resulting in healthcare costs of around $190 billion per year. This represents between 5% and 8% of the total national healthcare spending.

Companies spend around 75% of a worker’s annual salary to cover lost productivity or to replace workers.

(HuffPost)

As previously mentioned, stress leads to a loss of productivity and can drive workers to quit their jobs. Aside from the obvious health costs for workers, stress can seriously impact company budgets. Workplace stress and lost productivity statistics indicate that it can cost up to 75% of a worker’s yearly salary to cover productivity costs or to hire new workers.

Workers who take sick days due to mental health issues are seven times more likely to have further absences than those with physical health problems.

(Mental Health Foundation)

Depression in the workplace statistics from 2016 research by the UK Mental Health Foundation highlight just how much stress affects the workforce. According to this data, if a worker takes a sick day due to stress or other mental health issues, they are seven times more likely to take additional sick days than a worker with physical issues.

Stress causes around one million workers to miss work every day.

(American Institute of Stress)

Work-related stress causes a whopping one million workers to call in sick daily. When tied in with the costs of absenteeism, we can begin to understand how heavily workplace stress affects our economy.

The annual cost of lost productivity due to absenteeism tied to poor health was more than $84 billion in 2013.

(Gallup)

The cost of absenteeism to the general US economy is immense. Stress related illness statistics reveal that in 2013 alone, the cost of lost productivity due to being away from work was over $84 billion.

Over 20% of workers spend more than five hours of office time weekly thinking about their stressors and their worries.

(Colonial Life)

Stress not only affects productivity by worsening the quality and rate of work performed; it also takes up a significant portion of employees’ work time. More than 20% of workers involved in a 2016 Colonial Life survey said that they spend more than five hours weekly thinking about what stresses them.

80% of US employees spend 12-20 hours per month dealing with financial concerns at work.

(IFEBP)

United States stress statistics gathered by Benefits magazine show that stress can travel both ways in terms of work-life balance. Just as work-related stress carries over to our personal lives, so too does stress stemming from our personal life affect our work. The majority of US employees (80%) spend anywhere from 12 to 20 hours per month thinking about financial worries.

Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs.

(Mental Health America)

When left untreated, depression is as costly as AIDS or heart disease. Back in 2000, the annual cost of depression in terms of productivity and treatment was $51 billion and $26 billion respectively. This figure has surely risen since, given the increasing number of people who are experiencing mental health issues.

To Conclude

What do the stats tell us? Well, it’s bad out there. We’re progressively getting more stressed at work. Our bosses annoy us, there’s too much work, and time is short. And when things get out of control, the human and financial costs of work-related stress are horrific. These rising levels of stress at work are closely connected to shifts in the global economy that have resulted in decreased financial and job security. This explains why so many people are switching over to the gig economy.

So, what can be done? First of all, employee-employer relations need to improve. Workers believe that employers expect too much of them and they feel they can’t talk about their work-related stress in the office. Employers also need to pay more attention to mental health issues among their employees. As our workplace stress statistics have shown, if things don’t improve, workers in the US and abroad have a grim future ahead of them.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is stress in a workplace?

Workplace stress refers to harmful mental and physical duress caused by various factors at work. When we look at stress in the workplace statistics over the years, we can see that workplace stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and other serious mental issues.

What causes stress at work?

The most common causes of stress at work are strained relations between employees and bosses or managers, as well as workload and deadlines. All of these contribute to general employee stress levels.

How does stress affect productivity?

As our stats show, some people are motivated by stress, but for the majority of workers it causes a drop in productivity. Stress causes employees to lose precious office time thinking about their worries, the quality of their work worsens, and they sometimes have to take sick days.

What are the signs of stress in the workplace?

According to employee assistance professionals, the warning signs of stress include taking sick days, requesting pay advancements, and resolving personal problems while at work.

What relationships at work could trigger stress?

Relationships with the boss, upper management, and peers can all cause stress in the workplace. As we’ve mentioned, the employee-boss relationship is the biggest source of stress for workers.

How do I stop stressing at work?

You should identify your stressors, develop professional and healthy responses for them, find ways to relax, and consider talking to a health professional. We believe these are the best possible options when looking at how to handle stress at work.

What are the risks of stress in the workplace?

Workplace stress statistics show that stress can lead to a loss of productivity, burning out, and confrontations at work. If left untreated it can cause depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health issues.

About author

Damjan won’t tell you how to run your business, but he will try to advise you on how to save your money and avoid financial ruin. As a staff writer at SmallBizGenius, he focuses on finding the most consumer-friendly services available and provides advice to both established and fledgling businesses out there.

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(Pew Research Center) Millennials are all those born between 1981 and 1996, and back in 2019, they accounted for over a third of the US labor force. In 2016, the millennial generation surpassed Generation Xers and became the largest population in the US labor force.  According to research from 2019, Millennials are expected to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.  Gender Diversity in the Workplace Statistics Only 8% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are female. (Statista) The gap between male and female leadership roles has always been a thing, and there are multiple statistics to confirm that. However, it looks like things are changing for the better. As Statista confirmed earlier this year, there’s been a new record when it comes to female CEOs. As of June 14, 2021, there were 41 female CEOs employed at Fortune 500 companies. According to the statistics, this wasn’t the only record that got broken. For the first time ever, two black women are running America's 500 highest-grossing companies, giving us hope that gender diversity on executive boards might become a reality in the not-so-distant future. In terms of the median salary in the US, women earn around 18% less than men. (PayScale) The gap between the leadership roles isn’t the only hurdle that women are facing in business nowadays. PayScale, a company that helps employers and employees understand the appropriate pay for every position, reviewed these issues in its Gender Pay Gap Report for 2021. According to this report, women earn only $0.82 for every dollar a man makes. Although it might sound discouraging, this is a slight improvement compared to 2020, when they earned one cent less, as per employment diversity statistics. Also, bear in mind these are uncontrolled pay gap statistics - when doing the same job with the same qualifications, the numbers are less dire: women earn 98 cents for every dollar a man does. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fathers who worked remotely were promoted three times more than women in the same position. (CNBC) The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of the business as we know it. Many had to adapt to the new reality and switch to their home offices instead. According to a CNBC report, 34% of men with children working from home received some kind of promotion during this period.  On the other hand, women’s jobs have been hit much harder by the pandemic. According to an analysis conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, of the 1.1 million workers ages 20 and over, who left the labor force between August and September of 2020, 865,000 were women. Racial and Cultural Diversity in the Workplace Statistics 46% of Hispanic and 39% of black women earn less than $15 an hour. (The Washington Post) In 2019, around 39 million people earned less than $15 per hour. These 39 million employees made about 28% of the workforce at the time, and the majority of the low-wage category consisted of Hispanic and black women. In fact, they were more than 2x as likely as white men to fall into this wage category.  Based on the Washington Post’s research on diversity in the workplace, statistics haven’t really changed since 2019. Roughly 46% of Hispanic women and 39% of Black women still make less than $15 an hour. On the other hand, only 18% of White and Asian men hover around this wage bracket. More than 90% of all Google employees are white or Asian men. (Statista) According to Statista, the distribution of Google employees in the US from 2014 to 2021 does not look very racially or gender-diverse. The data for 2021 shows that white men account for 50.4% of employees, with Asian men following with 42.3%. On the flip side, only 4.4% of the employees are black men and women. If you look at the timeline of these statistics on diversity in the workplace, you will see the Asian population is experiencing steady growth, while the white population dropped from 64.5% in 2014 to 50.4% in 2021.  In 2019, black people held only 3.2% of senior leadership roles in large organizations in the US. (Coqual) “Being Black in Corporate America” is the name of Coqual’s intersectional exploration aimed to show if and how things have changed for the black people in the US during the past few years. The research on the representation of black adults in the US has shown that only 3.2% of black people held senior leadership roles in major companies, with just 0.8% of them being Fortune 500 CEOs. Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace Statistics Diverse companies produce 19% more revenue than those with non-diverse leadership. (Forbes) A study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), published in 2018, has found that diverse leadership increases the bottom line for companies. According to the study, increasing the diversity of leadership teams can lead to improved financial performance and better innovation. The study included 1,700 companies of all sizes across eight different countries. These findings are important as they show that diversity isn’t just an inclusion metric but an integral part of any successful business. In 2019, gender-diverse companies were 25% more likely to outperform their competitors. (McKinsey) Various diversity in the workplace stats show just how important diversity is and how it can help boost the overall performance of businesses of all sizes. Based on the findings from McKinsey’s research in 2019, companies with gender diversity have 25% higher chances to achieve higher profits than those with less gender diversity on the executive boards. Ethnic diversity in leadership teams is another vital factor. According to the report, companies implementing ethnic and cultural diversity on the executive level have a 36% likelihood of outperforming the competition.  Diverse companies are 70% more likely to acquire new markets. (Harvard Business Review) (Josh Bersin) Establishing a diverse workplace is vital for all modern organizations, and there are many diversity in the workplace statistics that prove this. Diverse companies also have 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. They are also far better at capturing new markets when compared to the companies that do not practice diversity hiring.  80% of US job candidates look for inclusion when choosing an employer. (Deloitte) Salary and working hours aren't the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing a new employer. Back in 2017, Deloitte published a research paper that surveyed more than 1,300 full-time employees from a range of organizations all across the US. The paper showed just how important diversity and inclusion initiatives are by showing that four-fifths of all employees look for an inclusive workplace. 39% of respondents confirmed they would quit their current job if they found a more inclusive working environment, while 23% indicated they already left a job for that very reason.
By Nikolina Cveticanin · October 04,2021
Women account for 50.8% of the US population, hold 57% of all undergraduate degrees, and approximately 60% of all master’s degrees. And even though they hold about 52% of all management-level jobs, American women cannot keep pace with men in terms of representation when it comes to top leadership roles.  As male vs. female CEO statistics show, it’s the profit and loss roles or P&L responsibilities such as leading a brand, unit, or division, that set executives on the track to becoming a CEO. On the other hand, women who advance into C-suites - the “chief” jobs in companies - typically take on the roles such as head of human resources, legal, or administration. Although all of these functions are extremely important, the line of work they focus on doesn’t involve profit-generating responsibilities, which rarely makes them a path to running a company. Why does the percentage of CEOs that are female remain low in all parts of the world? There isn’t a simple answer to this question. Several studies have shown that it’s the fusion of work-life constraints, early professional trade-offs, and firmly established attitudes towards women in power and the skills and traits that make a good leader that can explain why the careers of equally ambitious and capable men and women often take such different turns. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting findings. Male vs Female CEO Statistics - Editor’s Choice Female CEOs are running 41 Fortune 500 companies. There are two Black women among the Fortune 500 CEOs. Women made up only 5% of the CEOs appointed in 2020 globally. At the CEO level, men outnumber women by approximately 17 to one.  59% of male employees aspire to become CEOs versus 40% of women. 77% of women say the biggest obstacle to gender equity at the workplace is the lack of information on how to advance. Between 2015 and 2020, the share of women in senior vice president roles in the US increased from 23% to 28%. (McKinsey & Company) Over the same period, the percentage of women in the C-suite went up from 17% to 21%. All women, especially those of color, remained significantly outnumbered in senior management positions. However, prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the representation of female workers in corporate America was slowly trending in the right direction.  According to 2020 statistics on female CEOs in the United States, 21% of C-suite members were women.  (McKinsey & Company)  Based on the survey results published by McKinsey & Company, there’s a leaky pipeline for women in leadership. In 2020, female workers accounted for 47% of entry-level positions, 38% of management roles, and 33% senior management/director roles. Women were entrusted with under one third (29%) of all vice president positions in American organizations. For every 100 men who got promoted to a managerial role, only 85 women advanced to the same position, based on the 2020 data.  (McKinsey & Company) This gap was even larger for women of color as only 71 Latinas, and 58 Black women received a promotion. Consequently, women remained underrepresented at the managerial level holding just 38% of manager positions, while men accounted for 62%. Male vs female CEO statistics from 2020 indicate that 39% of senior-level women burned out compared to 29% of men. (McKinsey & Company) Furthermore, 36% of women felt pressured to work more, in comparison with 27% of men. At the same time, 54% of C-suite women reported that they constantly felt exhausted, and so did 41% of men in similar positions. More than 50% of women in senior leadership roles promote gender and racial equality at work, in comparison with approximately 40% of male top executives. (McKinsey & Company) Women in leadership positions are more likely than men in senior-level roles to take a public stand on racial and gender diversity and champion the advancement of employee-friendly programs and policies. Women CEOs are also more likely to sponsor and mentor other female workers. According to the results of a recent survey, 38% of women in senior-level positions currently mentor or sponsor at least one woman of color, compared to only 23% of men in the same roles.   Female CEOs are running 41 Fortune 500 companies. (Fortune, Statista) In 2021, the number of women appointed to CEO positions in America's 500 highest-grossing companies reached an all-time high. However, the new record still only translates to approximately 8% of female representation at the top of the country's largest public businesses.  On the plus side, the number of women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies almost doubled in comparison with 2018 when there were 24 females leading the nation’s biggest businesses. Calls for diversity and inclusion in the highest echelons of America’s business world are starting to bear fruit as the number of female Fortune 500 chief executive officers increased for the third consecutive year. The top five biggest female-led Fortune 500 businesses as of August 2021 are CVS Health (rank four), Walgreens Boots Alliance (rank 16), General Motors (rank 22), Anthem (rank 23), and Citigroup (rank 33).  Speaking of women in leadership roles, statistics show that there are two Black women among the Fortune 500 CEOs. (Fortune) For the first time, two Black women are running Fortune 500 businesses - Roz Brewer of Walgreens Boots Alliance (rank 16) and Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA (rank 79). Before Duckett and Brewer started their new jobs in 2021, only one Black woman - Ursula Burns, former Xerox chief - had ever been appointed CEO at a Fortune 500 business on a permanent basis. After Burnes stepped down from the role in 2017, and, with the exception of Bed Bath & Beyond's Mary Winston, who worked as interim chief for a few months in 2019, Black female chief executive officers have been missing from the Fortune 500 list ever since. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser is the first woman to run a major Wall Street bank. (Fortune) Fraser’s appointment marked huge progress for the financial industry. Much like Dick's Sporting Goods chief Lauren Hobart, Clorox chief Linda Rendle, new Coty CEO Sue Nabi, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Roz Brewer, Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA, and CVS’s CEO Karen Lynch, Fraser took over from a male CEO. Statistics on Fortune 500 CEOs by gender reveal that there were only 37 female and 463 male chiefs leading America’s highest earning businesses in 2000. (Fortune) The number of women in CEO positions in the Fortune 500 hasn’t been growing steadily throughout the last two decades. There were 24 female chiefs in 2015, 21 women CEOs in 2016, and 32 women running Fortune 500 businesses in 2017, while that number dropped to 24 in 2018.  At the median, 16 female CEOs earned $13.6 million in 2020, in comparison to $12.6 million for the 326 men included in a study. (Equilar) According to a study published in May 2021 comparing a male CEO salary vs. a female CEO salary, women have outpaced men in total pay but remained underrepresented in executive positions. Equilar’s study indicates that Lisa Su, the chief executive officer of Advanced Micro Devices, was the highest-paid woman for the second consecutive year and the highest-paid CEO overall in 2020.  Globally, women made up only 5% of the CEOs appointed in 2020. (Heidrick & Struggles) The highest percentage of newly-appointed female CEOs was in Ireland (15%), while the lowest was in Brazil (0%). This is according to a paper that analyzed the backgrounds of chief executives leading 965 of the largest companies in 20 markets around the world. It sought to identify the skills and experience that shaped their path to the top while taking different male vs. female CEO statistics into account.  At the CEO level, men outnumber women by approximately 17 to one.  (Morningstar) According to a study that explored the gender gap in US companies, the number of male executive officers is seven times higher than the number of women holding the same positions. More than 50% of the companies analyzed didn’t have a single female on their lists of executive officers. Jackie Cook, the author of the Morningstar report, found that online retail giant Amazon didn’t have any women among its highest-paid executives as of 2020.  Women who negotiate for raises and promotions are 30% more likely to be considered as "too aggressive" or "intimidating". (Business Insider) Speaking of male managers vs. female managers, statistics reveal that women who don’t negotiate at all are 67% less likely to receive the same negative feedback. The proportion of women in senior management roles increased from 20% in 2011 to 29% in 2020, globally. (Grant Thornton) As 2019 saw a jump of 5% compared to 2018 (amounting to a total of 29%), 2020 represents a leveling off of the progress made during the previous year. This lack of movement doesn’t necessarily reflect a failure of companies to address the existing gender gap. Globally, the proportion of companies with at least one woman in senior management was 87% in 2020.  (Grant Thornton) The number of female CEOs and senior managers has risen by almost 20 percentage points over the last few years. For comparison, this figure stood at 68% in 2015 and 68% in 2017.  77% of women say the biggest obstacle to gender equity in the workplace is the lack of information on how to advance. (Working Mother Research Institute) Only 41% of female survey participants, as opposed to 64% of male respondents, said they have a network of coaches, mentors, and sponsors offering them career guidance. 37% of women versus 64% of men said that their companies provide information on career paths that lead to executive roles. (Working Mother Research Institute) Additionally, women CEO statistics indicate that 74% of female employees understand what the specific requirements are for advancing to the highest-paying roles in their companies even though they don’t receive this type of information directly.  60% of women believe they have the same opportunities to advance as anyone else at their workplace versus 74% of men.  (Working Mother Research Institute) Similarly, 65% of women express they are satisfied with the way their careers are progressing, and so do 78% of men.  Male vs female CEO stats reveal that 59% of male employees aspire to become chief executives versus 40% of women.  (Working Mother Research Institute) Of those women who aspire to become CEOs, 6% are first-level managers (as opposed to 13% of men) and 39% are executives. The same goes for 40% of men hoping to take on the role of chief executive officer.  Businesses with high representations of women in leadership roles had a 35% higher return on equity and 34% higher total shareholder return in comparison with male-dominated companies.  (Catalyst) Female vs male CEO statistics compiled by an NGO during a review of 353 Fortune 500 companies show that the differences were most apparent in facial services, consumer discretionary, and consumer staples industries.
By Milica Milenkovic · September 24,2021

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