AP2 Women’s Index 2012: The number of female board members is falling while the number of women in management groups is at an all time high

Published 18 June 2012

The tenth edition of AP2's annual Women's Index shows that the number of female board members is down somewhat on the previous year, with women making up 22.7 per cent of boards. However, the number of women in company management positions is continuing to increase, reaching 16.3 per cent this year; the highest percentage recorded since the start of the survey in 2003.

"This year marks ten years since we started publishing the Women's Index, and there has been a positive development in the number of female board members and company managers in this time, even if numbers have occasionally fallen. The rate of change is nevertheless painstakingly slow. At the current pace, it would take 27 years before the share of female board members reached 50 per cent, and 52 years; that is, until 2064, before we would see women occupy 50 per cent of company management positions. We believe that it is important that as many as possible take action in order to achieve a more rapid pace of change. If not, we risk seeing a continued loss of expertise, which we believe would have a negative impact both on the competitive power of companies and on society as a whole," says Eva Halvarsson, CEO of AP2.

The larger companies listed on the Stockholm stock exchange employ the largest number of women, together with industries with a large number of female employees. The service and finance industries have the largest number of female board members while the media and health industries have the largest number of female employees in management positions. The commodities sector ranks bottom both when it comes to the number of female board and management group members. However, the number of women in company management positions has increased and men now occupy less than 90 per cent of these positions.

The number of women studying for degrees in fields that have historically been a source of recruitment for company management and board members has increased over the past 30 years; from just under 20 per cent to just over 40 per cent today. However, women tend to drop off in the transition from graduates to employees (almost a third), to managers (one fourth) and to Group management (one seventh).

Since 2003, AP2 has conducted an annual survey together with Nordic Investor Services to measure the number of women in middle management roles, in company management positions and on the boards of companies listed on the stock exchange. In addition, the number of women graduating from degree programmes that have traditionally served as a basis for recruitment to company management and boards has also been measured.

Click here to see the 2012 report. (PDF-document, 566 kB)

For further information, please contact:
Eva Halvarsson, CEO AP2, +46 (0)31 704 29 00
Ulrika Danielson, Communications Manager, +46 (0)709 50 16 13